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A NEW edition of " James's Naval History " demands a few pre- 
fatory remarks. Since the Battle of Navarino (fought on the 20th 
of October, 1827), with which the work concludes, an element 
in nantical science unknown to our forefathers has passed into 
tmiversal adoption, rendering the evolutions of fleets and single 
ships almost entirely independent of the fluctuations of wind and 
weather ; and setting aside the most approved systems of attack 
and defence, as hitherto practised by the ablest commanders. 

The introduction of steam must produce another change In 
maritime warfare, equal to that occasioned by the invention of 
gunpowder. History and past experience will cease to be 
referred to as practical teachers. The best lessons they can 
now supply are confined to the examples of skill, courage, and 
patriotic devotion, never to be surpassed, from which future 
Nelsons may learn how the battles of that great admiral and his 
contemporaries were fought and won. But while naval students 
admire these glorious records, they will see at once that the 
tactics of the last generation will cease to be available in future. 
They will learn to understand fiilly the difficulties and deficiencies 
inseparable from the manoeuvres of sailing-fieets, with all the 
casual impediments of storms, or calms, of baffling or contrary 
winds, of lee shores, tides, currents, shoals, or breakers ; and 
they wiU also rejoice while they wonder, at fijiding these ob- 
stacles comparatively negatived by the absolute power of steam- 


propulsion, — a power which can be exercised and regulated with 
almost mathematical certainty. 

Steam may be considered the most important agent in mecha- 
nics that man's ingenuity has yet brought into action. Its 
early development was slow — ^unlike printing, which reached 
perfection in infancy ; but the progress of steam, as practically 
exercised within the last thirty years, is a tissue of marvels, 
opening prosx)ects that bafBie theory, and set the calculations of 
reason at defiance. 

The idea of motion produced by steam-pressure appears to 
have originated with an Italian, named Brancas, residing at 
Rome, in 1628. The first real steam-engine is described by the 
Marquis of Worcester, a faithful royalist, in a small pamphlet pub- 
lished three years after the restoration of Charles the Second, in 
16G3, entitled " A Century of Inventions." He calls it, ** a way to 
drive up water by fire ;" but neither the public nor the government 
appeared to be much attracted by the discovery. Had the Star- 
chamber not been abolished, the noble inventor would have 
incurred the risk of being brought before that righteous tribunal 
for an unholy alliance with the powers of darkness. 

In 1769, James Watt, then a mathematical instrument-maker 
in Glasgow, obtained a patent for his great invention of perform- 
ing condensation in a separate vessel from the cylinder. To 
this he made many subsequent improvements, and acquired 
additional patents. In 1778, the notorious Thomas Paine pro- 
posed the application of steam in America ; and in 1807, Eobert 
Fulton, a native of Pennsylvania, started a small steam-boat on 
the Hudson river. The progress of this vessel through the 
water scarcely exceeded five miles an hour. Fulton had medi- 
tated on the experiment since 1793 ; but although he claimed to 
be the first who applied water-wheels to the purposes of steam- 
navigation, most assuredly he was not the inventor. Yet he 
has often been so called, as in naming the new world, Amerigo 
Vespucci has supplanted Columbus to whom the lawful parent- 
age belongs. 

Mr. Millar, of Dalswinton, in Dumfriesshire, a Scotch gentle- 
man of good family and fortune, and with a mind devoted to 
mechanical inquiry, expended many years, and many thousands. 


by which his patrimonial estate became involved, in the construc- 
tion of a steam-ship propelled by paddles.* This vessel was 
lannched and tried on some water in the neighbonrhood of Dal- 
swinton, nineteen years anterior to the assumed discovery of 
Fulton. Mr. Millar offered his ship to the consideration of the 
government of the day. As usual, he was treated with indiffer- 
ence, and his proposal rejected. He was even unable to obtain 
a trial at his own expense. Surprised and disheartened at this 
repulse, he took his steamer to Stockholm, and offered it as a 
free gift to the Swedish sovereign Gustavus the Third, an en- 
terprising, enlightened monarch, with ideas far in advance of his 
people and their resources. He had a mind active in improve- 
ment, but his exchequer was empty. Though he fully appre- 
ciated and imderstood the value of the offering, he had nothing 
to bestow in return but a gold snuff-box, with his portrait set 
in briUiants, valued at about 3000Z. : a modem parallel of the 
unequal interchange of civilities between Sarpedon and Glaucus, 
in the Iliad. Gustavus promised great results, in case the prin- 
ciple of steam should be found applicable to general use. But 
Boon afterwards, he fell by the hand of Ankerstrbem, and no time 
was allowed him to profit by the valuable acquisition so disin- 
terestedly placed in his hands. With the king of Sweden's assassi- 
nation ended the dream of Mr. Millar's life. He returned home 
a disappointed and impoverished man, adding one more to the 
list of those who have lived to see their reputations filched from 
them, and their claims appropriated by undeservers. ' The writer 
of this notice learned the facts here stated from Major Millar of 
Dumfries (eldest son of Mr. Millar), in whose possession he saw 
the snuff-box and portrait alluded to above — the only beneficial 
advantage the family ever derived from the persevering energy 
of their ancestor. It is hard to waste time and money in the 
enthusiam of scientific pursuit ; but it cuts deeper still to be 
defrauded of well-earned fame. There is reason to suppose that 
tbe double vexation preyed on the mind and health of Mr. 
Millar, and hastened his death. 
In 1819, the ** Savafanab," a vessel of only 350 tons burthen, 

» See the "Scots Magazine," for IYhs. 


steamed across the Atlantic in twenty-six days from New York 
to Liverpool. She then proceeded to St. Petersburg, and snlr 
seqnently recrossed the Atlantic, using steam during the three 

In 1825, Captain Johnston received a reward of 10,000Z., for 
making the first steam-voyage to India, in the '^Enterprise," 
which sailed from Falmouth on l^e 16th of August in that year. 
This, we believe, was the same skilful and fortunate navigator 
of whom it is recorded that, up to November, 1828, he had 
traversed the Atlantic in sailing-vessels one hundred and 
seventy-two times, without wreck, or capture, or a single 
accident of any kind which incurred a loss to the underwriters 
on the ships he commanded. 

The "Great Western" arrived at New York, from Bristol, on 
the 17th of June, 1828, making the transit in eighteen days, 
which is now usually accomplished in half the time. War- 
steamers began to be built in England in 1838 ; and in 1840, the 
** Nemesis," and " Phlegethon '* — "devil-ships," as they were 
called by the enemy — did good service during the Chinese war. 

The loss of the '^ President,'' on her home passage, in the 
dreadful gale of March, 1841, for the moment produced a feel- 
ing of mistrust as to the permanent efficacy of steam navigation 
in situations of extreme peril, and for distant voyages on stormy 
seas; but the evil impression rapidly passed away. It was 
remembered that the " British Queen " and the Halifax mail- 
steamers weathered the hurricane to which the " President " had 
succumbed, and that many of the finest sailing-vessels in the royal 
navy and merchant-service had been lost by foundeiing at sea. 
The instance of the " President " was an isolated casualty, and 
not a test upon which to establish a general rule. Gigantic as 
that steamer was considered at the time, she bore no comparison 
to the dimensions of the " Himalaya," and the latter sinks into 
a dwarf by the side of the " Great Eastern." 

Between the years 1842 and 1845, her Majesty's steam-sloop, 
"Driver,'' commanded by Captains Harmer and .'Hayes, per- 
formed the circumnavigation of the globe. While we are 
writing, in 1869, the navies of all the leading nations of the 
civilized world are principally composed of steamers on the 


most improved principles. Iron and the screw are rapidly 
superseding the old ribs of oak and the recent paddle. 

It was expected that the late Enssian quarrel would afiford an 
opportunity of testing steam tactics in a general engagement ; 
but the foe of the moment was too wary to risk the result. He 
preferred sinking his own ships at the eleventh hour to the 
chances of battle. For himself he took, perhaps, the wisest 
course ; but when our hands were in, our blood warmed, and 
heavy war expenses incurred, it would have been more satis- 
factory for England if the problem had then been decided. 

Sir Howard Douglas, in an able and scientific work, '^ On 

Naval Warfare with Steam," published shortly before the 

close of 1858, has, in addition to much valuable information, 

suggested some admirable rules for the future movements of 

fleets. His theory, that military manoeuvres and principles will 

come largely into play in future naval operations, is soundly 

based, and so clearly demonstrated, that he must be a hardy 

casuist who would undertake to refute it. The same view had 

been previously taken by a distinguished naval officer, Admiral 

Bowles, in a tract published in 1846, entitled an ^* Essay on 

Naval Tactics." To these high authorities may be added that 

of Captain Dalgren of the United States Navy. Several French 

writers, amongst others, Labrouse, Faixhans, and De La Graviere, 

as early as 1843, delivered very explicit opinions that the 

employment of steam as a moving power would be attended 

with results beneficial to the nations of the Continent, while it 

will operate to the disadvantage of Great Britain — a hasty 

inference which Englishmen will not be disposed to admit. The 

wealth, population, and resources of England, her national spirit, 

her enterprise, her nautical science, and mechanical ingenuity, 

have neither remained stationary nor declined while those of 

other nations have gone on improving. On the contrary, they 

have advanced in more than an equal ratio. Why then is it to 

be supposed that the superior tactical skill of our commanders, 

80 eminently displayed before the adoption of steam, should 

suddenly fail them under the influence of a newly-discovered 

and more manageable implement of warfare ? The conclusion 

is " thing devised by the enemy." 


Lord Nelson, in his two splendid victories of the Nile and 
Trafalgar, won both by doubling upon his adversaries, and by 
bringing, without aggregate superiority of force, a concentrated 
power upon a given point, thus dividing the strength opposed to 
him, and beating it in detail. He could have executed these 
brilliant manoeuvres with more precision had steam been used in 
his day ; but it is unlikely that such advantages will again be 
offered to an attacking fleet. At the Nile, the French remained 
passively at anchor: at Trafalgar, the Franco-Spanish fleet, 
was drawn up in a double line, slightly verging towards a 
curve ; so that when that formation was trisected by the two 
advancing columns of the English, the rear ships were placed out 
of condition to succour those in the van and centre within the 
required time. The wind was light, and the speed of Lord 
Nelson's fleet scarcely exceeded a mile and a half in the hour. 
This tardy pace subjected them to a long and heavy fire before 
they could get into action, which steam would have prevented. 
The " Victory,'' Nelson's flag-ship, leading the weather-column, 
was exposed to some himdreds of heavy guns , during forty 
minutes before she reached the opposing line, or returned a shot. 
Steam also has another important advantage : it liberates the 
greater portion of the crew for the exclusive service of the guns. 
The old system of ships ranging up alongside of each other and 
exchangiag broadsides at close quarters is not likely to happen 
again. It is more than probable that they would go down 
reciprocally, if at all equal in force, under a single discharge. 
The oblique, and not the direct order of battle must be substi- 
tuted. The effect of such a mode of attack will depend much 
on the speed of the ships, and more on the talent of the com- 
manding admiral. This plan requires a perfect knowledge of the 
most effective military manoeuvres which the annals of war 
supply for study and practical application. The oblique order, as 
already stated, consists in concentrating a superior force, at the 
critical moment, against the flank or centre of the enemy, and 
throwing him into confasion, from which time must never be 
given to him to recover. This decisive movement was first 
practised by Epaminondas, the Theban general, at Leuctra and 
Mantinea ; and thus he overthrew the best troops of ancient 


Greece, the disciplined and, until then, invincible Spartans. 
Alexander, upon the same principle, won his conclusive victory 
at Arbela, against Darius; and in modem times Gustavus 
Adolphus, Frederick the Great, and Napoleon the First, illus- 
trated its overpowering efficacy on many brilliant fields. 

With the aid of steam, this system becomes even more avail- 
able at sea than on shore, for where there is no inequality of 
ground or natural impediment, and speed is open to certain 
calculation, the incidental difficulties are diminished in propor- 
tion. But, again, tlie 'success of steam warfare must depend 
quite as much upon the relative abilities of the contending com- 
manders as upon the courage or discipline of the men. Sir 
Howard Douglas's remarks on this particular point are worthy 
of repetition.^ — "It may appear to some that in fature naval 
battles there will be no attacks by fleets advancing directly in 
divisions of ships arrayed in line ahead on the broadside batteries 
of an enemy's fleet, as at Trafalgar, and that there will be no 
rex)etition of such a battle as that in Aboukir Bay. This would 
tend to show that the new system of naval warfare will put an 
end to that bold, resolute, and audacious mode of action, which 
was the wont of the British navy. But this will not be the 
case. It is true that in the present very improved state of 
naval gunnery, such a mode of attack as that adopted at 
Trafalgar could not be made without seriously crippling the 
attacking fleet, before it could close with the enemy ; and it is 
not probable that so fiebulty a formation as that of the French 
fleet in Aboukir Bay will again occur. But our officers, 
ioobued with the resources of tactical science and nautical skill, 
and our men able and ardent to carry out, with unflinching 
courage, their commands, will nevertheless find in steam war- 
fare ample opportunities for acting in that vigorous and bold 
manner which has ever been congenial to the spirit of British 

The peace advocates, who hailed the Great Exhibition of 1851 
as the inauguration of universal harmony, a shutting of the 
teo^le of Janus, never to be reopened, are sadly mistaken in their 

1 See ** Naval Warfare with Steam," p. 114. 


anticipations. At this moment continental Enrope bristles with 
bayonets, and the anvil of the armourer smothers up the gentler 
cadence of the loom, the shuttle, and the spinning-wheel. In 
trade-lovilig America, the thirst for annexation has inspired a 
rabid appetite for glory not likely to be quenched until they 
fuid what a heavy outlay is inseparably attached to the com- 
modity they covet. With the French, the love of glory is in- 
digenous ; it is the breath of their nostrils, the essence of their 
being. An army of 500,000 men, rusting in country-quarters — 
baited, but not fed, with field-days and reviews, with small 
pay, less promotion, and no prize-money — are not likely to be 
satisfied long in their profitless inactivity. Italy, for choice, is 
their secret'aspiration ; but England, rather than no war at all. 
How long will the Emperor Napoleon, supposing him to be wise 
and honourable, faithful to his treaties and just to his people, 
be able to restrain the army on whom he depends ? Or how 
long will he be restrained by the force of European opinion ? 
These are delicate questions not easily answered. 

"The navies of Europe and America," says Sir Howard 
Douglas (Introduction, pp. 11 and 12,) ** have so increased in the 
number and strength of the ships, and their personnel — in all 
that relates to the service and practice of war — ^that in a future 
contest, the sea will become the theatre fof events more im- 
portant and decisive than have ever yet been witnessed. 

" The efforts of our nearest continental neighbours have been 
particularly directed, during the last nine years, to the re- 
attajnment of that rank and consideration which their nation 
formerly held among the naval powers of the world; and, 
admitting this to be a just and laudable policy for France to 
pursue. Great Britain should at the same time keep steadily 
in view the measures now being carried out in that country, 
conformably to the recommendation of the Commission of 
Inquiry of 1849, and must take corresponding measures to 
increase in due proportion the power, efficiency, and numerical 
strength of her naval forces, in order to maintain her present 
position. Thus .the naval arsenals of two great nations in 
alliance with each other, one of them compelled by a necessity 
of the first and highest order, — ^that of providing effectually for 


itfi own security, — are resoiinding with the din of warlike pre- 
parations, while both might be participating in the financial 
adyantages and social benefits of a sound and lasting peace." 

The position is unpleasant, but inevitable. With a restless 
neighbour armed to the teeth, and within a few hours' sail 
of our shores, we have no certain security but in preparation ; 
and however expensive the alternative may be, preparation is a 
thousand times better than surprise. Let England be on the 
alert, and she has no occasion to fear attack from any power or 
powers that may unite against her. At the commencement of 
the Crimean campaign we suffered fearfully for want of foresight. 
Before the fall of Sebastopol, we had gained our second wind, 
and could have gone on for ever. But why should we strain 
our quality of endurance by such unnecessary trials ? May our 
statesmen profit by example, and avoid such costly mistakes in 
future ! A strong Channel fleet, equal to any that can be eqiupped 
against us, and in constant exercise, with an ample reserve of 
gun-boats and mortar- vessels, will constitute a better chain of 
coast-defences than a triple wall of fortifications, if such could 
be erected, from the mouth of the Thames to the Lizard Point. 
Huch has appeared from time to time, in responsible print, as to 
three formidable divisions of fifty thousand men each, convoyed 
by fleets* of corresponding power, simultaneously collected and 
thrown at the same moment on distinct points of England, 
Scotland, and Ireland. A comprehensive plan of invasion, 
which supposes every possible contingency in the chapter of 
accidents to be combined against us, and not one to operate in 
our favour. The argument, like Touchstone's ill-roasted eggy 
is ^' all on one side;" the enterprise clearly impossible. Let the 
French expend millions upon millions on the fortifications of 
Cherbourg, either as a haven of refuge, or a hostile rendezvous. 
Cherbourg cannot cross the channel on a foggy night, to take 
Portsmouth by a coup-de-main ; while Aldemey is a well-placed 
outpost, an eye looking into the hostile camp to warn us of 
collecting danger. 

If an army destined to invade another coimtry escapes the 
opposing fleet, a landing can be effected at any chosen point. 
The history of all ages establishes this fact. But in the case of 


a descent on England, the enemy shotQd be met at once in the 
confusion of disembarkation, before he has time to land his 
materiel of war, and to take np an inland position. It might 
then be more difficult to dislodge him : but with the sea close 
to his back, he fights without a base. Datis and Artaphemes 
found this to their cost when routed by Miltiades at Marathon ; 
and William the Norman would in all probability have supplied 
another example at Hastings, but for the imtimely arrow which 
deprived the English army of the generalship of Harold. 

In the present edition of the Naval History, a few changes 
will be found in the arrangement of the sections into which the 
work is divided. These have been made for the purpose of 
equalizing the volumes ; but there are no alterations whatever 
either in the series of events or in the substance of the original 

London^ Ap'il, 1859. 


VOL. I. 
1488 to 1792. 

Introduction— ^-First ship of war — Cannon, 1 — ^Portholes, 2 — ^Two important 
improvements in ships of war, 3 — Origin of ships' rates, 5 — ^The unrated 
classes, 6 — Old MS. list of the navy, 7 — Calibers of guns, 8 — Ancient and 
modem shot, 9 — ^Improved classification of the ships, 11 — Decks of a ship 
of war, 11 — ^First decks armed with guns, 13 — Decks of a ship of w^, 14 — 
Origin of the term gangway, 16 — ^Meaning of the term flush- decked, 17^- 
Ambiguity in other naval terms, 18 — Flush and quarter-decked ships, 21 — 
Line-of-battle ships, 21 — ^Frigates, 22 — ^British frigates modelled from the 
French, 23— Constant- Warwick, the first British frigate, 24 — ^Made a two- 
decker, 26 — ^The classification of foreign navies, 28 — English frigate-classes, 
30 — First genuine English frigate, 31 — ^English and foreign 18-pounder 
frigates, 33 — ^The post-ship classes, 34 — ^Invention of the carronade, 36 — 
Establishment of carronades for each class, 37 — Dispute between the 
Ordnance and Navy Boards, 39 — Advantages of the carronade shown, 40 — 
Distinction between *^guns" and "carronades," 42 — Large and small 
calibers compared, 44 — Calibers of English and foreign guns, 45 — Remarks 
on the tonnage of ships of war, 47 — Cause of variety of size in British 
navy, 48. 


First Fbench rbvolutionaby war, 49— War declared against England, 

British and French fleets — State of the British navy, 51 — Captains and 
commanders, 53 — ^Dutch, Spanish, Russian, and other navies, 54 — Compa- 
rative state of the French navy, 57 — French seamen, 58 — Armament of 
French ships, 59 — First republican fleet at sea, 60 — Lord Howe's first cruise, 
61 — Lord Howe and M, Morard-de-Galles, 62 — Description of Brest, 65 — 
Lord Howe and M. Vanstabel, 66 — Description of Toulon, 69 — Lord Hood 
at Toulon, 73— Commodore Linzee at Fomeilli, 94 — ^French frigates at 
Genoa and Spezzia, 97. 
VOL. I. h 


Light squadrons and single ships, 97 — Scourge and Sans-Culotte, OS- 
Lieutenant Westemjlbid. — ^Bedford and Leopai-d, 99 — Re-capture of the San 
lago, 100— Iris and Citoyenne-Fran9ai8e, 101 — ^Venus and S^millante, 103— 
Hyena and Concorde, lOS^Nymphe and Cleop&tre, 106 — ^Boston and Em- 
buscade, 110 — Crescent and Reunion, 115— Agamemnon and French frigates, 
117 — ^Thames and Uranie, 118 — Capture of the Inconstante, 122 — Capture 
of a privateer by a packet, 123. 

Colonial expeditions, 124 — Colonies of the different powers, 125. 

North America, 125 — Surrender of St. Pierre and Miquelon, 126. 

West Indies, capture of Tobago, 127 — 111 success at Martinique, ibid. — 
Dreadful hurricane, 128 — Surrender of Cape-Nicolas-Mole, St. Domingo, 130. 

East Indies, 131 — ^Attack upon the R^solue, ibid; — Capture of Pondicherry, 


British and French fleets, 134 — State of the British navy, 135 — ^Violent 
proceedings at Brest, 136 — Re-organization of the Brest fleet, 137 — Sailing 
of Lord Howe, 138 — Rear-admirals Montagu and Nielly, 140 — Sailing of 
M. Villaret-Joyeuse, 141 — Chase of the Audacieux, 144 — Lord Howe on 
the 28th of May, 145 — Audacious and ReVolutionnaire, 146 — Lord Howe 
on the 29th of May, 149— Same on 31st of May, 160— M. VQlaret joined by 
M. Nielly, 161 — Lord Howe on the 1st of June, 162 — Capture of the Alex- 
ander, 203 — Mutiny on board the Culloden, 205 — Lord Hood at Corsica, 
207 — ^Lord Hood and M. Martin in Gourjean bay, 214— Mutiny on board 
the Windsor Castle, 215. 

Light squadrons and single ships, 216 — Extraordinary escape of the 
Juno, 217 — English Indiamen and French privateers, 219 — Same and French 
frigates, 221 — Capture of the Pomone, 223 — Capture of the Duguay-Trouin, 
225— Capture of the Atalante, 228 — Carysfort and Castor, 229— Crescent 
and French squadron, 230 — Romney and Sibylle, 233 — ^Destruction of the 
Volontaire, 234 — Capture of the ReVolutionnaire, 235 — Captains Osborne 
and Renaud off Isle-Ronde, 236. 

Colonial expeditions. West Indies, 239 — Capture of Martinique, 241 — 
Capture of Sainte-Lucie, 245 — Capture and re-capture of Guadaloupe, 247 
— Commodore Ford at St. Domingo, 251 — Capture of Tiburon, 253. 

Coast op Africa, 253 — ^French spoliations at Sierra Lcfbne, 254. 


British and French fleets, 255 — State of the British navy, 256 — Pro- 
jected expedition from Brest, 257 — Sir Sidney Smith's peep into Brest, 259 
— Serious casualties to the Brest fleet, 262 — Chase of M. Vence into Belle- 
Isle, 263— Junction of Admirals Villaret and Vence, 264 — Comwallis's 


retreat, 269 — Lord Bridport in the command of the Channel fleet, 272 — Lord 
Bridport oflf Isle-Groix, 273 — ^Expedition to Qaiberon,277 — Dreadftd gale in 
the Channel, 281 — Capture of the Berwick, 283 — Vice-admiral Hotham off 
Genoa, 285 — Loss of the Illustrious, 294 — Admiral Hotham off Hyferes, 296 
— ^Re-capture of the Censeur, 303 — Cruise of M. Ganteaume, 305 — Nemesis 
at Smyrna, ibid. 

British and Dutch fleets, 307 — ^War between England and Holland, ibid. 

Light squadrons and single ships, 308 — ^Blanche and Pique, 309 — Lively 
and Tourterelle, 313 — Astrsa and Gloire, 316 — ^Burning of theBoyne, 317 — 
Sir Richard Strachan and French convoys, 318 — Captain Cochrane and 
French store-ships, 319 — ^Thom and Courier-National, 321 — Capture of the 
Minerve, 323 — Southampton and Vestale, 325— Rose and French privateers, 
327— Mermaid and two corvettes, 329r— Capture of the Eveille', 330. 

Colonial expeditions. West Indies, 331^-Captain Wilson and a French 
squadron, 333— -Victor Hugues and his successors, ibid. 

East Indies, 334 — Capture of the Cape of Good Hope, 335— Capture ol 
Trincomal^ and Oostenburg, 337, 


Bbttish and French fleets, 339 — State of the British navy, ibid. — ^New 
constitution in France, 341 — Force in Toulon, 342 — Recapture of the 
Nemesis, ibid. — ^Nelson at Laona, &c., 343 — Evacuation of Leghorn, 344 — 
War between England and Spain, 346. 

British and Spanish fleets, 346— Admiral Langara at Toulon, ibid. — 
Evacuation of Corsica, 347. 

British and Franco-Spanish fleets, 349 — Recapture of Corsica by France, 
ibid. — Sir John Jervis's retreat from the Mediterranean, 350, 

British and French fleets, 350 — Loss of the Courageux, 351 — ^Accident 
to the Gibraltar, ibid. 

Light squadrons and single ships, 354 — Sir Sidney Smith at Herqui, 355 
— Capture of the Etoile, 357 — Capture of the 'Unit^, ibid. — Capture of Sir 
Sidney Smith, 359 — Capture of the Virginie, 361 — Boats of Niger near the 
Penmarcks, ibid. — Spencer and Volcan, 363 — Capture of the Argo, 364 — 
Su6Ssante and Revanche, ibid. — Santa-Margarita and Tamise, 366 — Unicom 
and Tribune, 367 — Dryad and Proserpine, 369 — Southampton and Utile, 
371 — Glatton and French frigates, 375 — Aimable and Pens^, 377 — Mer- 
maid and Vengeance, 379 — Quebec and two French frigates, 380 — Destruc- 
tion of the Andromaque, 382 — Raison and Vengeance, 385— Capture of the 
Elizabet, ibid. — Capture of the Bonne-Citoyenne, 387 — Rear-admiral Sercey 
in the Indian seas, 389 — ^M, Sercey and two British 74s, 391 — Loss of th« 
Amphion, 395 — Pelican and Mcfdee, 397 — ^Terpsichore and Mahonesa, 399 — 


French privateersy 400 — ^Lapwing at Angailla, 401 — ^Terpsidiore and Ves- 

tale, 403 — ^Mimirve and Sabina, 407 — Blanche and Ceres, ibid. 
Colonial sxpeditionb, North America, 408 — ^Rear-admiral Richery at 

Newfoundland, 409. 
West Indies — Capture of Demerara, 410 — Recaptnre of Sainte-Lnde, 411 — 

Capture of St. Vincent and Grenada, ibid. — ^British at Lebgane and at Bom- 

barde, St. Domingo, 412. 
East Indies, 413 — Capture of Columbo, Ambojna, and Banda, 414 — Capture 

of Dutch squadron in Simon's bay, 416 — ^Destruction of French settlement 

at Foul point, Madagascar, 417. 

Appendix 419 

Annual Abstracts 420 

Notes to Annual A1>stracts ....... 449 


Action of the Nymphe and Cl^p&tre 108 

Lord Howe catting the French line on the 29th of May, 1794 . .152 
Lord Howe cutting the French line on the 1st of June, 1794 . .165 
Cornwallis's retreat ; wearing of the Royal Soverdgn to cover the Mars 267 
Action of the Blanche and Pique .311 


The flattering inception given to the first edition of this work 
i^ain calls me before the public. Having no prepossessing 
adjunct to annex to my name in the title-page — ^no word, nor even 
letter, to denote the slightest connexion between that name 
and the professional subject treated of in these pages — ^I may 
be i)ermitted to state my motives for undertaking a task of 
sach apparent difficulty to a landman as a narrative of naval 

It is now upwards of thirteen years since the subject first 
engaged my attention. I was then a prisoner, or detenu^ in the 
United States of America, and recollect, as if it were but 
yesterday, the impression made on my mind by the news of the 
Guerridre's capture. Having, during a few years' practice as a 
proctor in the island of Jamaica, learnt not to place implicit 
reliance upon what an American swore, much less upon what 
he loosely asserted, I expected, very naturally, to derive con- 
solation from the result of an inquiry into the actual force — in 
guns, in men, and in size— of the contending frigates. My 
acquaintance, while professionally employed, with many matters 
relating to ships, facilitated my labours: and the degree of 
intercourse, which had necessarily subsisted between several 
ofiBcers of the British navy and myself, gave, I confess, a spur 
to my exertions. 

I soon ascertained that official letter- writing, so far from 
being a Dair representation of facts, was a political engine made 
use of by the Govei-nment to draw recruits to the army from the 

h 2 

xxii author's preface. 

Western States, to render the war popular throughout the Union, 
and to inspire the nations of Europe with a favourable opinion 
of the martial character of the United States. I found that, 
although the Eepublic was divided into two parties, democrats 
and federalists, the latter would only scrutinize or call in 
question the statements of the former when the deeds of the 
army were recounted; but that the most extravagant asser- 
tions, made by the Government or democratic party on behalf 
of the navy, received the stanch support of the federal or, 
misnamed, English party. As far, therefore, as related to 
the exploits of the American navy, the whole press of the 
Eepublic, from Maine to Florida, and from the Atlantic frontier 
to Louisiana, co-operated in furthering the views of the Govern- 
ment. Had these exaggerated accounts deluded the people 
of the United States only, the consequences would have been 
comparatively trifling ; but, as if Buonaparte was the only 
potentate who could issue false bulletins, or that an official 
document, simply because it was drawn up in the English 
language, must be received as a truism by the English people, 
the press of this country unsuspectingly lent its aid in degrad- 
ing the character of its own navy, and in exalting that of the 
United States. 

While residing in an enemy's country, I could do little else in 
the matter on which; my mind was bent than collect materials 
to be used at a future day. I did, however, manage to get 
inserted in some of the American journals a few paragraphs, 
setting right the comparative force in one or two of the actions, 
and had afterwards the pleasure to see those paragraphs copied 
into a London journal, as admissions extorted from the Ameri- 
cans themselves. At length my zeal nearly betrayed me ; and 
I was on the eve of being sent to the interior, when I effected 
my escape, and arrived, in the latter end of the year 1813, at 
Halifax, Xova Scotia. 

I there became a gratuitous contributor to the only news- 
paper of the three which could be called an English one, and 
published, from time to time, accounts of the diflferent naval 
actions with the Americans ; showing the exact force and 
dimensions of their ships, and [communicating to the colonial 
public many novel and important fects. I also transmitted 
several letters on the subject to England ; and they afterwards 

author's prefacb. xxiii 

appeared in the Naval Chronicle. In March, 1816, 1 pablished 
a pamphlet, " An Inqniry into the merits of the principal Naval 
Actions between Great Britain and the United States, &c." and 
inscribed it as an ^^ humble appeal to the understandings of the 
loyal inhabitants of his majesty's Nortb- American provinces." 
In the succeeding June I arrived in England ; and, in about a 
twelvemonth afterwards, I published a single octavo volume, 
entitled, " A Full and Correct Account of the Naval Occurrences 
of the late War between Great Britain and the United States/* 
In June, 1818, 1 was induced to publish a work, in two volumes 
octavo, on the "Military Occurrences'* of the same war; and 
in the latter end of that year, or the beginning of 1819, 1 formed 
the resolution, the presumptuous resolution, as I now think, of 
writing a narrative of the different naval actions fought between 
Great Britain and her enemies since the declaration of war by 
France in February, 1793. 

Of that work, in its present amended state, I am now to 
speak. In the *^ Introduction,'* I have endeavoured to make 
the unprofessional reader acquainted with the rise and growth 
of the British navy ; with the ancient as well as the modem 
armaments of the ships composing it ; with the same respecting 
the shix>s of foreign navies ; and, in short, with every other par- 
ticular that I thought would assist him in understanding details, 
among which, to avoid too frequent a recurrence to paraphrase, 
I have been obliged to intersperse a great many technical terms» 
In order, however, to lessen the inconvenience arising from that 
drcumstance, I have given a " Glossary of sea-terms," extracted 
chiefly from Falconer and Darcy Lever ; and which Glossary, 
as it at present stands, is far more copious than it was in the 
okL edition. 

The main subject of the work I have divided into annual 
periods, and have subdivided each year's proceedings into three 
instead of, as formerly, four principal heads: Bbitibh and 


Under the first head, the leading subject for the current year 
is invariably the state of the British navy. Some account of 
the navy of the opposite belligerent is then given ; and, after 
that, the proceedings of the rival fleets. This head takes in aU 
expeditions that are not of a colonial nature, the operations of 

xxiv author's pbeface. 

Bnoniqwrte's inyasion-flotilLi, and a snmiiiaiy of micli proceed-' 
ingB on shore, Including measores of state and tiie moyements of 
armies, as may contrilmte to throw a light upon naval history. 

Under the second head, I hare giren an account of all actions 
between frigate-sqnadrons or sin^e ships, boat-attacks, ship- 
wrecks, and other naval proceedings not redncible mider the 
fleet or the colonial head ; and the third and last head takes in, 
as it specifies, all expeditions fitted ont against the colonies <^ 
any of the belligerents. On first introducing this head, I have 
thought it requisite to enumerate the colonies possessed, at that 
period, by the different European powers. 

It was in the ^ Naval Occurrences " that I first adopted the 
plan of exhibiting the comparative force of ships of war by a 
tabular statement. Before I introduced the plan into the present 
woi^ I consulted several naval officers ; and they all agreed, 
that the statement conveyed to their minds the clearest idea of 
that which it was meant to express, the actual force of the com- 
batants. A committee of the most scientific officers belonging 
to the American navy, having been ordered by the president to 
compute and report upon the relative strength of different 
classes of ships, compare them by the ''weight of a ball in 
a round." M. Dupin, in the second, or naval jMot of his 
''Voyages dans la Grande-Bretange," a work of admitted 
science and research, wherever he has occasion to ccHnpare 
the force of two ships of war, adopts my mode, that of the 
broadside weight of metaL If it be the number and not the 
nature of the guns that decides the contest, what is to be 
understood by the frequent expression, " This ship is heavier 
than that?** Does it mean that the ship bears about her more 
wood and iron work, and is therefore heavier ; or that her guns 
are of a larger caliber, and the balls she discharges from them 
heavier ? 

In reasoning upon the issue of any battle, I have found 
neither the talent nor the inclination to dwell on the conse- 
quences which might or did accrue to either nation from success 
or failure. The merits of the combat, considered as a combat, 
I have fully detailed, and freely discussed ; and have left the 
field of politics open to those who know better how to traverse 
it. Disclaiming as I do all party-feeling, my task as an impar- 
tial narrator has sometimes forced me to make remarks whidi 

author's preface. XXV 

may be considered novel, if not, in an unprofessional writer, 
presumptuous. Where such strictures appear, the grounds of 
them also appear ; and it would be as impossible for a rational 
mind to overlook, as it would be degrading for an independent 
one to withhold, the fair conclusion. If, notwithstanding my 
endeavours to be accurate, I have in any case argued from wrong 
data, and thus unintentionally committed injustice, I shall be 
ready to make the best atonement in my power. But who is 
so weak as to expect that, because among the attributes of a 
profession gallantry ranks as one, no member of that profession 
can be otherwise than gallant ? Is it any reflection upon the 
army or the navy to say, that this general has nothing of the 
soldier about him but his gait ; or that that admiral displays 
no trait of the genuine tar but his sea-phrases ? I feel a satis- 
&ction, however, in being able to declare, that no material 
misstatement has been charged to me in the first edition of this 
work ; and yet, I neither spared the high, where facts told 
against them, nor refused my humble aid to the low, where their 
claims had been disregarded, and blustering assurance allowed 
to usurp the rights of modest merit. 

There may be persons who consider, that a compilation of 
official letters from the " London Gazette," properly headed and 
arranged, would form the best NavaJ History that could be 
written. As I have not only omitted to give one of those letters 
entire, but have amended some, flatly contradicted others, and 
enlarged upon the remainder, it becomes me to show upon what 
grounds I, a private individual, have taken such liberties with 
documents that, as being official, are usually held too sacred 
to have their contents called in question. Beginning with the 
fleet actions, let the reader refer to Lord Howe's letter. It 
contains two misstatements: one, that a French ship of the 
line was captured in the night of the 28th of May ; the other, 
that a French ship of the line was sunk during the engagement 
of the 1st of June. No doubt his lordship firmly believed 
what he stated, for a more honourable man did not exist. 
Lord Howe gives a sketch of the day's proceedings, and, for 
further information, refers to the bearer of his despatches, 
Captam Sir Eoger Curtis. That sketch of the action may be 
comprised in three or four pages ; while the details I have given 
fill 90 pages. Look, also, at the misstatements in Lord Col^ 

xxvi author's preface. 

lingwood's letter regpecting the battle of Trafalgar. Compare 
that brief letter with my acconnt, which occupies nearly 140 
pages. I might refer, in a similar way, to every other general 
action of the two wars. 

With respect to single-ship actions, the official accoimts o 
them are also very imperfect. The letters are generally written 
an hour or so after the termination of the contest, and of coarse 
before the captain has well recovered from the fatigae and 
flnrry it occasioned. Many captains are far more expert at the 
sword than at the pen, and wonld sooner fight an action than 
write the particulars of one. I know a case where, after an 
officer had written a clear and explicit accounl; of an important 
operation he had been engaged in, his commander-in-chief sent 
him back his letter to rfiorten. In consequence of this, the 
gazette-letter was not only brief, but unintelligible. If you are 
informed how long the action lasted, you seldom can learn at 
what hour it began or ended. As to the state of the wind, that 
is scarcely ever noticed. The name of the captured ship is 
given, and, now and then, the name of her commander ; her 
numerical force in guns; also their calibers, generally when 
equal or superior, but less frequently when inferior, to those of 
the captor. The force of the British ship, being known to the 
Board of Admiralty, is left to be guessed at by the public, or 
partially gathered irom Steel. Moreover, whatever may have 
been the mistakes or omissions in an official account, no supple^ 
mentary account, unless it relates to a return of loss, is put forth 
to rectify or supply them.^ 

But even the minuteness of my accounts has given rise to 
objections. That trite maxim of expediency, '* Truth is not at 
all times to be spoken," has been held up against me ; and I 
have been blamed for removing the delusion, which the now no 
longer existing difference between the rated and the real force 
of a British ship of war had so long imposed upon the public. 
If, in showing that a certain frigate, instead of mounting, as 
was supposed, 38 guns, moxmted 46, 1 leave to be inferred, that 
her captain did not deserve to be knighted for having captured 
a French frigate of 44 guns, I confer a benefit on the British 

1 Two exoeptioDS oocnr to me: one, a letter from Yice^admiral Bertie, snpply- 

Gaptain Blackwood's letter, amending ing the omission of the name of the Mene- 

Lord Oollingwood's respecting the prizes laus among the cAiips stated as present at 

made at the battle of Trafalgar; the other, the cqttore of the Isle of France. 

author's preface. xxvii 

navy ; I assist to exalt, rather than to debase, the martial cha- 
racter of the nation. For instance, a French war breaks out 
to-morrow, and this same British frigate captures a French 
frigate of 44 gmis. Is her captain knighted? No. Why? 
Because his ship is a 46, his opponent's only a 44, gun frigate. 
The nation at large, not knowing that the old 88 and the new 
46 gun frigate were armed precisely alike, that, in fact, they 
were the same ship, exclaims, that the British navy is not what 
it was; that it now requires a 46-gun frigate to perform as 
much as, 25 years ago, was performed by a 38-gun frigate. It 
is the explanations I give which place the two actions upon a 
par; explanations due no less to truth than to the rising gene* 
ration of Nelsons, who require but the opportunity to be afforded 
them to emulate, perhaps to outshine, the bravest of those that 
have gone before them. 

Let not the reader imagine, because in the ensuing pages the 
veil may be drawn farther aside than has been customary, that 
he will find less to admire in the performances of the British 
navy. Far from it. Some hundreds of cases are here recorded, 
that are not to be found in any other publication of the kind ; 
and even in many of those cases which have appeared before, 
my researches have enabled me to add particulars, calculated 
to raise the action to a still higher rank in the annals of the 
British navy. 

I cannot recollect an instance where a British officer, of tried 
valour, has dissented from the opinion, that every justice ought 
to be done to the exertions of an enemy ; and yet, I regret to 
say, there are officers, as well as others, who have objected to 
my work because it is too Frenchified, Such illiberal opinions 
I value as nought. Nay, in direct opposition to theii* spirit, I 
am gratified in reflecting, that I have shown an impartiality 
which wiU exonerate me from Hume's sweeping charge, that, 
" in relations of sea-fights, writers of the hostile nations take a 
pleasure in exalting their own advantages, and suppressing 
those of the enemy." I feel, also, a' degree of pride in the 
proofs I have afforded, that a man may write an impartial naval 
history, and yet belong to the country the most conspicuous in 
it. I esteem the brave of every nation ; but I glory in recount- 
mg the exploits, and in celebrating the renown, of the brave of 
my own. And I shall not, I trust, be considered less patriotic 

xxviii author's preface. 

than the historian who says, "I confess, I love England,** 
because I will not go the length of saying also with him, ''and 
I hate her enemies." ^ 

Could I have persuaded myself to make those ''authentic 
and valuable works," the " Annual Begisters," ^ rather than the 
log-books of ships and the official accoimts on both sides, the 
groundwork of my statements, I should have escaped both the 
troublesome task of seeking particulars, and the unpleafiant one 
of passing censure. The fullness of my details would not have 
obliged me to violate historical unity, by dividing my subject 
into so many distinct heads ; nor need I have run the risk of 
tiring the reader with the minuteness, nor of displeasing him 
with the technicality, of my descriptions. I should have cared 
less about the truth and originality, than about the easy flow 
and the " patriotic," which, in plain English, means the partial, 
tendency of my narrative ; and, instead of employing five or six 
years, I should scarcely have taken twice as many months, to 
bring my labours to a conclusion. He who is best read on 
naval subjects can best appreciate the extent of my researches 
for matter that is novel The accuracy of my statements, a yet 
more important point, can best be determined by those who 
were engaged in the services I profess to narrate. Of the many 
accounts of sea-fights to be found in these pages, there is not 
one but contains something original, something which has never 
before been in print, if it is only the state of the wind, the 
name of the foreign captain, or the particulars of the force 
mounted by the contending ships. 

When I look upon the pile of letters, full 300 in number, the 
contents of which have so enriched these volumes, I camiot but 
feel grateful to the writers, many of whom are of the first rank 
and distinction in the navy; and I beg them individually to 
accept my acknowledgments. Several of the writers betray an 
imwillingness to disclose facts creditable to themselves, and 
others strictly enjoin me, rather to under, than to over, rate 
their performances. Much, too, as I had calculated upon volun- 
tary communications (having in my Prospectus requested in- 
formation of the profession at large), 20 or 30 unsolicited letters 
are all that I have received. Nor were the remaining letters 
replies to a circular requesting information generally, but 

1 Biaset > Preface to Brenton, p. tL 

author's preface. xxix 

answers to a string of questions, leading directly to tlie point in 
doubt. In stating that upwards of 80 of my letters remain at 
this hour unanswered, I shall perhaps be excused for some of 
the omissions that may discover themselves in the work. A 
few of those letters have probably miscarried, and others may 
have given offence. One captain, indeed, was candid enough 
to tell me why he refused the least particle of information : he 
did not like the freedom of my remarks upon excessive flogging. 
Let me assure him that, on a review of my past labours, there 
is no part I would wish less to retract, or even soften down, 
than that which, to my regret, has provoked his anger. 

The celebrated author of the "Decline and Fall of Eome," in 
the Preface to his first octavo edition, says : " Some alterations 
and improvements had presented themselves to my mind, but I 
was unwilling to injure or offend the purchasers of the preceding 
edition." This appears to me to be the excuse of an author 
who eitifer is weary of his subject, or who feels that he is 
already seated upon the highest pinnacle of fame. As I am 
still fondly attached to my subject, and have yet my fame (such 
as it ever will be) to make, no cause exists to divert me from 
what I conceive to be my bounden duty to the public, to give 
the most fall and accurate account in my power of the naval 
events of the period embraced by my work. 

The improvements I have been enabled to make in this 
edition are, for the most part, highly important. Such of those 
improvements as relate to the heads under which the narrative 
is carried on have already been described. Nearly the whole 
of the tabular matter in each volume has been transferred to an 
Appendix at the end ; where, also, the Annual Abstracts of the 
British navy are now placed, instead of being putjip in a sepa- 
rate quarto volume. The notes have almost all been incor- 
porated with the text ; and subjects connected in interest, but 
disunited in the former mode of arrangement, have been brought 
together. All the accounts have been revised, and many of 
them greatly enlarged. Upwards of 200 cases, chiefly boat 
and shore attacks, have been added to this edition. Among 
the improvements, is an epitome, under the head of Contents, 
of each year's proceedings, with a reference to the page at 
▼hich the action or case is to be found. 
In other naval histories, the name of the English captain is 
VOL. I. c 

XXX author's preface. 

not always added to that of the ship he commands ; and even 
when it is added, the christian name is seldom given. "With 
respect to French captains, the omission of their names is gene- 
rally preferable to the attempt to insert them ; because almost 
invariably they are so misspelt, as to defeat every purpose of 
identity. In both these points, I was particularly careful in the 
first edition of this work ; and I have in the present edition, 
at incalculable pains, inserted the christian and surname of 
every first-lieutenant in an action of note ; of every officer killed 
and wounded in any action whatever ; of every officer present 
(where obtainable) in any attack by boats, or in operations 
against the enemy on shore. When it is known that these 
names comprise some thousands, that the surnames of part 
only, and the christian names of scarcely any, are to be found 
in the gazette-letters, some idea may be formed of the diffi- 
culties I have experienced in consummating this part of my 
new plan. I will venture to say, that the Board of Admiralty 
themselves would have found considerable difficulty in adding 
the proper christian names to such a mass of surnames. A few 
christian names, and a few only, I have been obliged to leave in 
blank, and in others I may have erred ; but I have used my 
utmost endeavours to be accurate in all. Let me here mention, 
that the London Gazette contains a great many misprinted 
names ; and that its Index of " State Intelligence " is extremely 
imperfect and erroneous. 

To render this new system of nomenclature of increased 
practical benefit, as well to the public at large as to the junior 
class of British naval officers, to do justice to whose gallant 
exertions was my chief motive in planning it, I have caused a 
list to be made of all the names, with the volume, year, and 
page in which they occur, and the progressive rank of the 
officer. Pardon me, reader, if I now descend, for a moment, 
from the station of the author, to give exi»ression to feelings of 
rather a personal nature. To an affectionate partner, who has 
shared my anxiety in executing this arduous and protracted 
work, as well as incurred some of the danger consequent upon 
it, I am indebted for the Index of both the present and the pre- 
ceding editions. The labour of the undertaking is manifest ; 
and its accuracy will, I trust, be equally evident when there is 
occasion to refer to it. 

author's preface. xxxi 

In the Index to the last three volumes of the old edition, the 
names of the ships, as well as of the officers, appear ; and, in 
my Prospectus of the new edition, I promised that the ships 
should form part of the Index to the present work. By the 
time, however, that the first three volumes had been gone over, 
the quantity of index matter was so great, that I decided to 
omit the ships ; the rather, as no ship, no British ship at least, 
except in a single instance or so, is named in the work without 
her captain or commander being also named. 

For their novelty as well as their utility, the Diagrams will 
perhaps be considered the most important improvement in the 
work. I wish they had been more numerous ; but I fouhd it 
impracticable to extend the number, and at the same time pre- 
serve that accuracy without which the diagram would obscm-e, 
rather than illustrate, the letter- press. Although, with one or 
two exceptions, not finished quite so well as I could desire, 
these woodcuts have greatly increased the cost, but without 
adding one shilling to the price, of the book. 

The greater portion of the sixth volume is made up of the 
operations of the late American war, which, for the want of 
room, I was obliged to omit in the preceding edition. Here it 
is, I fear, that my zeal in the cause of truth, my wish, my deter- 
mination to expose, as far as I am able, all counterfeit claims to 
renown in naval warfare, will subject me to the charge of national 
prejudice. Confident, however, that I have, in no instance, 
swerved from that impartiality which gives to these pages their 
principal value, I must console myself with the reflection, that 
those who charge me with being too severe in my strictures 
upon the officers and people of the United States, have never 
had an opportimity of forming a judgment of the American 
character. For the edification of such persons I subjoin a brief 
account of the frontispiece of an American naval work, pub- 
lished at that which is reputed to be the most Anglican of all 
the cities of the republic, Boston. 

We are to suppose that the genius of America, having by 
some means got possession of old Neptune's car and trident, 
along with a pair of prancing sea-nags, is desirous to take an 
airing on the deep. Behold her, then, as she dashes through 
the wayes, pointing with the trident, by her degraded into a 
staff for the national colours, to some medallions of American 

xxxii author's preface. 

worthies, fantastic&Uy stuck upon a monnment, whose founda- 
tion, seemingly, Is no other than the froth and foam which the 
lady herself has just kicked up. Wreaths of laurel, sea-gods, 
and a towering eagle, find appropriate places in ihe design. 
Upon the pedestal are the names of " Manly, Tbuxton, 
Jones,* Pbeble, Barney, Litlle, Barry;" and the pillar is 
ornamented with the medallions of " Hull, Jonbs,^ Decatur, 
Bainbridoe, Stewart, Lawrence, Perry, Macdonough ;" and 
at the top, with the names of "Porter, Blakely, Biddlb." 
Several other medallions present their backs to us : they 
probably represent " "Warrington, Burrows, Chauncey, Elliott, 
Angus, Tarbell, Thomas ap Catesby Jones," &c. &c. Nor has 
our old Mend Commodore Rodgers been entirely forgotten, 
although rather shabbily treated, by haying only " gers" of his 
name, and but one of his shoulders, thrust into view. In front 
of the car is a sort of raft, bearing pieces of cannon, mortars, 
shells, shot, &c. ; but we search in vain for any of those chain and 
bar shot which the Americans employed with so much advantage 
in their warfare against the British. Upon the whole, no one, 
except an American, will consider as inapplicable to the design 
the following words of Mr. Addison: "One kind of burlesque 
represents mean persons in the accoutrements of heroes." 

Previously to the late war with the United States, persons in 
this country were in the habit of exclaiming against " French 
boasting," "French misrepresentation," and "French impu- 
dence." My analysis of the American accounts has already, I 
trust, sufficiently shown that, in the art of boasting and mis- 
representing, the French could never compete with the Ame- 
ricans ; and I will now make it equally clear, that, in impudence 
also, our neighbours must yield up the palm. 

Within this week or two, an American bookseller, domiciled 
in London, has been trying to serve the cause of his country by 
practising a trick upon the gullible portion of this. He has put 
forth, in a neat octavo volume, a " History of the United States, 
from their first settlement as colonies, to the close of the war 
with Great Britain, in 1815." Of that part of the work which 
relates to the late war I shall only speak, and I do pronounce 
it as barefaced a calunmy against England as ever issued from 
the American press. The writer, whoever he is, for he seems to 

1 Paul. * Jacob. 

author's preface. xxxiii 

have been ashamed to tell his name, has found the misstatements 
in the American official accounts too moderate for his purpose : 
he has culled his choice collection of "facts" from the most 
violent party-papers in the United States ; papers written when 
there was a fresh exciting cause to plead as some excuse for 
misrepresentation and invective ; papers from which an Ameri- 
can writer with a name would not, at this day, venture to draw 
his materials, even had he no other than au American public 
to please. 

This genuine, but anonymous American writer, comes, or pro- 
bably sends, here to tell us (p. 385), that the attack by the 
President upon the Little Belt, was "insolence deservedly 
punished ;" that (p. 397) " the Wasp, of 18 guns, captured the 
Frolic of 22," and that " in this action the Americans obtained 
a victory over force decidedly superior ;" that (p. 405) ** Admiral 
Gockbum, departing irom the usual modes of honourable war- 
fare, directed his efforts principally against unoffending citizens 
and peaceful villages," and that "the farm-houses and gentle- 
men's seats near the shore were plundered, and the cattle driven 
away or wantonly slaughtered f that (p. 406) " the Hornet met 
and captured the British Peacock, of about equal force ;" that 
(p. 411) Commodore Perry's victory on lake Erie " was achieved 
over a superior force ;'* that (p. 415) " Commodore Chauncey 
upon lake Ontario repeatedly offered battle to the enemy's 
squadron, which was superior in force ; but Sir James Yeo, the 
British commander, intimidated by the result of the battle on 
lake Erie, retired before him ;" that (p. 425) " Commodore 
Downie's, squadron on lake Champlain carried 95 guns, and 
was manned with upwards of 1000 men, and that Commodore 
M'Donough's carried 86 guns, and was manned with 820 
men;" that (p. 426) "the American sloop Peacock captured 
the Epervier, of equal force ;" and that " the sloop Wasp cap- 
tured the Eeindeer, and afterwards in the same cruise sunk the 
Avon, each of superior force ;" that (p. 437) " the Constitution 
captcured the Cyane and Levant, whose forces united were 
superior to hers ; and the sloop Hornet captured the brig Pen- 
guin, stronger in guns and men than the victor." 

The worst is, that, for anything appearing to the contrary, 
these statements are contained in an English work ; and I should 
not be surprised, if the ♦* North- American Keview " were by- 

xxxiv author's preface. 

and-by to quote them, as admissions extorted from an English 
anthor of note, who had some special reason for concealing his 
name. It is to be hoped that the more influential of the English 
reviews will give a trimming to the only party whose name 
appears to this work, for his impudent attempt to palm upon 
the English public a book of lies and trash, for a book of 
"history." Unfortunately, the reprobation of the work may 
answer the publisher's purpose as effectually as the praise of 
it ; and he is chuckling to himself as he reads this, to think 
that even I shall put into his pocket some " pretty considerable " 
amount in British coin for his libels upon British character. 

Between the publication of the first and second parts of the 
former edition of my work, two volumes of another " Naval 
History ** made their appearance before the British public. I 
discovered inaccuracies, but I abstained from noticing them, 
because the author had not completed his undertaking, and 
might, in his succeeding volumes, correct them himself. The 
whole work has since been pubh'shed ; and I have felt myself 
quite at liberty to discuss its merits : nay, I was bound to do 
so in my own justification, for who is there, when a naval occur- 
rence is related difi'erently by an unprofessional and a profes- 
sional writer, that will not pin faith upon the latter ? I am not 
such a hypocrite as to disown, that I derive a satisfaction from 
the comparison of Captain Brenton's work with my own, short 
as even that falls of what my wishes would have made it. And 
yet, how often have I longed for the experience of a post-captain 
of 20 years' standing, for some of those " great opportunities for 
obtaining the most correct information " enjoyed by my contem- 
porary. Captain Brenton could go to the club-rooms and con- 
vivial meetings of his brother-officers, and collect his facts from 
among them ; while for a single fact, often of dubious import- 
ance, I had to address myself to a stranger ; one, perhaps, who 
thought so meanly of my abilities for the task I had under- 
taken, that he would not deign to send me a reply. 

I hope, therefore, that those of the naval profession, who have 
felt, or who may feel, disposed to bear hard upon me for the in- 
accuracies they discover, or the strictures they dislike, will re- 
flect upon the fallibilities of a naval historian of their own body. 
Let them consider, that any three of my six volumes contain 

re matter pertaining to naval history, than the five volumes 

author's preface. XXXV 

of Captain Brenton. Let them make some allowance for the 
increased quantity of detail in my work, as well as for the in- 
creased liability to err, which I have thus brought upon myself. 
Let those, also, who may prefer the style of my contemporary to 
mine, reflect how much easier it is for a writer, who skims over 
the surfaxies of things and finds little or nothing to start at, to 
construct well-turned periods, than a writer, who dips deeply 
into his subject, and stops every now and then to investigate a 
disputed fact. Finally, whatever literary aid Captain Brenton 
may have received, I can conscientiously say with Gibbon, 
"1. My rough manuscript, without any intermediate copy, has 
been sent to press. 2. Not a sheet has been seen by any 
human eyes, excepting those of the author and the printer : the 
faults and merits are exclusively my own." 

It is now upwards of eighteen months since I announced an 
intention of printing a new edition of my Naval History, and re- 
quested to have transmitted to me any corrections necessary to 
be made in the statements of the former edition. I expended 
upwards of fifty pounds in advertisements, urging naval officers 
to ajssist me in rendering my forthcoming work worthy of them 
and of the country. Consequently, I do not feel myself 
answerable for any misstatements which appeared in the old, 
and may reappear in the present edition. I trust, however, that 
there are very few of them. Two or three officers, who have 
never applied to me directly or indirectly, will find that I have 
corrected errors which had crept in respecting them, and have 
expressed my regret that those errors should have occurred. 
On the other hand, some of the most noisy claimants for redress 
will wish they had remained Silent : justice, however, was all 
they could expect, and justice I hope I have done them. 

I have still a trifling topic to touch upon. One evening at 
eigbl' o'clock, my publishers sent me down two pretty little 
wide-printed volumes. The title of " Naval Sketch-book," and 
that by " An officer of rank," made me regret that the work had 
not appeared a twelvemonth earlier, in order that I might have 
profited by the naval information I expected to find within it. 
At the very first thumbful of leaves I turned over, my heart al- 
most leaped into my mouth ; for I read as follows: ** Incon- 
sistencies, Infidelities, and Fallacies of James." Here was a 
plurality of faults ! I presently discovered that I, or ray printer 

xxxvi author's preface. 

for me, had made use of main instead of mi»en^ but that the 
** officer of rank " had overlooked the circumstance of my having 
ooireoted the mistake in the Errata ; and that, on another oc- 
casion, I had accidentally made an inappropriate use of the 
term hear up. As these little slips would not justify the heavy 
imputation cast upon me in the " Contents," I went through the 
work, and was pleased to find that, having no specific charge to 
bring forward, the author could only vent his spleen in general 
abuse of me and my work. I saw clearly, that the " officer of 
rank** was not what he pretended to be, anymore than the 
sixpenny scribe noticed by him was " Capt. William Goldsmith, 
R.N.'* Before one o'clock the next afternoon, I traced the 
" officer of rank *' through every ship he had served in, and 
found that, in 1793, when my work commences, he was just 
breeched; that seven years afterwards he entered the British 
navy ; and that, at the battle of Algiers, in August, 1816, he 
had been not quite eight years a lieutenant. I may add, that, 
although many a boatswain's name does, the name of the 
" officer of rank ** does not, appear in these pages. 

The " officer of rank " made his virulent attack upon me a 
full twelvemonth after I had announced a new and improved 
edition as being in the press ; but as regarded him, I staid my 
** corrective'* pen, the moment I discovered that a new edition 
of the " Naval Sketch-book " was about to appear. I have seen 
it ; and find that, as far as relates to me, the new work is a re- 
print of the old. I am therefore at liberty to proceed in " show- 
ing up " the "officer of rank." Will it be credited of a writer, 
who declares that he never presumes to give an opinion of a 
work until he has read it with attention, that he actually fathers 
upon me a " maxim," which I quote from another, for the ex- 
press purpose of showing its objectionable tendency ? Let the 
reader turn to p. 105 of the first volume of the " officer of 
rank's ** book, and then to the passage at p. xxvi. of this Preface, 
beginning, " But even, &c.'* ; which is a transcript of what ap- 
peared in my former edition. In another place, the " officer of 
rank " is disposed to be facetious with me, and that about a cir- 
cumstance, which every British naval officer, possessed of feel- 
ings a little more refined than would fit him for excelling in a 
" galley story," must wish had never happened. But has not 
the " officer of rank*' himself, in one alteration made by hina,- 

author's preface. xxxvii 

afforded a practical proof, that the threat of correction some- 
times operates as beneficially as the actaal infliction of it? 
The reader is requested to compare a sentence at the top of 
p. 174, voL i., of the old, with a sentence at the top of p. 208, vol. i., 
of the new, edition of the ** Naval Sketch-book." Nor is " Lyon," 
if it be so at all, the only name that will bear to be punned upon. 
" People," says the proverb, " who live in GlAss houses, should 
beware of throwing stones." — Pray, reader, do not, like this 
writer, condemn me without looking at the Errata;^ and 
should you, then, in spite of my endeavours at accuracy, dis- 
cover any misstatements, I request you will communicate them 
to me. If I say to an oflScer who may have a complaint to 
allege, send your statement in writing, it is because none but 
a written statement can serve his pui-pose or mine, and not 
because I fear him or any other man, or have the least ex- 
pectation of a renewal of the disgraceful business that once 
occurred. I should be ill-fitted for the task I have undertaken, 
were I to found a charge against a whole profession upon the 
misconduct of one of its members. 

In the Preface to the fourth volume of the old edition, I 
hinted at the probability of my undertaking an account of the 
principal naval actions of the first American war, or that com- 
mencing in 1775 and ending in 1783. I still think it probable 
that I shall make the attempt ; and I would wish, also, to give 
a history of signal-making in the British and French navies, as 
exemplified in the different general actions fought between them. 
On this abstruse subject, I should be thankful to receive as- 
sistance from British officers ; and I will undertake to return in 
safety any signal-books or other documents which they may 
please to send to me. Should I succeed in completing a volume 
of this description, a part of it will be devoted to corrigenda 
AKD ADDENDA connectcd with the present work ; and it is to 
that end more especially that I solicit officers to apprise me of 
any inaccuracies they may discover. Diagrams applicable to 
actions detailed in these pages I would willingly insert in the 
supplementary volume ; and I will thank officers to transmit me 
copies of any letters which they may have forwarded to the 
Admiralty, describing boat-attacks and other similar services 

^ In the present edition the erratas have, of course, been duly corrected in the 
I»ge.— JSdttor. 

xxxviii author's preface. 

against the enemy ; and which, not having appeared in the 
London Gazette, or only in the shape of abstracts, may not have 
been recorded in this work. When I state that my postage- 
account for the " Naval History," from first to last, has exceeded 
the sum of one hundred pounds, I shall be excused for request- 
ing officers to endeavour to forward their communications free 
of charge. 

12, Chapel Field f South Lambeth, 
March 25, 1826. 

( xxxix ) 


Aback, the situation of the sail of a ship, when its forward surface is pressed 
upon by the wind. 

Abaft f the hinder part of a ship, or some point nearer to the stem than any 
given part ; as, abaft the foremast. 

Abeam, the point at right angles with the ship's mainmast : hence, abaft the 
beam, is a situation or position between the direct line abeam and the 
stem, and before the beam, is between the beam and the head. 

Aboard, the inside of a ship : hence, any person who enters a ship is said to 
go aboard; but, when an enemy enters in time of battle, he is said to 
board. To faU aboard, is to strike against another ship. To havi aboard 
the main tack, is to bring the clew of the mainsail down to the chess-tree. 

About, is the situation of a ship immediately after she has tacked, or changed 
her course, by going about, and standing on the other tack. 

Abreast, synonymous with Abeam, 

Adrift, the state of a ship or vessel broke loose from her mooringg, and driven 

without control, at the mercy of the wind, sea, or current. 
Afore, all that part of a ship which lies forward, or near the stem. 
Aft, After f behind, or near the stem of a ship. See Abaft. 

Aloft, up in the tops, at the mast-head, or anywhere about the higher yards 
or rigging. 

Alongside, close to the ship. 

Amidships, the middle of the ship, either with regard to her length or breadth ; 
as, the enemy boarded us amidships, «. e. in the middle, between the stem 
and stem. Put the helm amidships ; i. e, in the middle, between the two 

Anchor, best bower and small bower, the two stowed furthest forward or near 
to the bows ; the best bower being the anchor on the starboard boA^, the 


small bower the one on the larboard bow ; the sheet aru^r is of the same 
size and weight as either of the bowers ; stream anchor a smaller one ; and 
hedge anchor y the smallest of all. 

An-endy any spar or mast placed perpendicalarlj. 

Astern^ behind the ship. 

Athwart hawse, the situation of a ship when she is driven by the wind, tide, 
or other accident, across the stem of another, whether they bear against, or 
are at a small distance from, each other, the transverse position of the 
former with respect to the latter being principally understood. 

Athwart the fore-foot^ is generally applied to the flight of a cannon-ball, as 
fired from one ship across the line of another's course, but ahead of her, as 
a signal for the latter to bring to. 

Bar, a shoal running across the mouth of a harbour or river. 

Bare poles, having no sail up. 

Barricade, more commonly called Bulwark, the wooden parapet on eadi side 
of the forecastle, quarter-deck, or poop. 

Beam ; — On the beam, implies any distance from the ship on a line with the 
beams, or at right angles with the keel : thus, if the ship steers or points 
northward, any object lying east or west, is said to be on her starboard 
or larboard beam. See Abeam. 

Bear up, or bear away, is to change the course of a ship, in order to make 
her run before the wind, after she has sailed some time with a side wind, 
or close hauled ; and seems to have been derived from the motion of the 
helm, by which this is partly produced, as the helm is then borne up to 
windward or to the weather-side of the ship. Hence, bear up seems to 
have reference to the helm only ; as, " Bear up the helm a-weather." 
With respect to any other thing, it is said. Bear away, or bear down ; thus : 
" We bore away for Torbay ;*' " We bore down upon the ship, and en- 
gaged her." 

Bearing, the point of the compscss on which any object appears ; or the 
situation of any object in reference to any given part of the ship. 

Beating, the operation of making a progress at sea against the direction of 
the wind, in a zig-zag line, or traverse; beating, however, is generally 
understood to be turning to windward in a storm ,^ or firesh wind. 

Belay, to make &st. 

Bend the sails, is to affix them to the yards ; bend the cable, to fasten it to 
the anchor, &c 

Bends, the streaks of thick stuff, or the strongest planks in a ship's side. 

Bight, any part of a rope between the ends ; also a collar or an eye formed by 
a rope. 

1 Ships cannot turn to windward in storm sails, and drift to leeward instead of 
«torfiM. Ships lie to in storms, under turning to windward. — Editor. 


Binnacle^ the frame or box which contains the compass. 

Birth f a place of anchorage ; a cabin or apaitment. 

Bits, large upright pins of timber, with a cross-piece, over which the bight of 
the cable is put ; also smaller pins to belay ropes, &c 

Board, the space comprehended between any two pUces where the ship 
changes her course by tacking ; or it is the line over which she runs be- 
tween tack and tack,, when turning to windward, or sailing against the 
direction of the wind. Hence, to make a good board, or stretch, to make 
short boards, &c. — See also. Aboard, 

Boarding-netting, network triced round the ship to prevent the boarders from 

Bow, is the rounding part of a ship's side forward, beginning where the planks 
arch inwards, and terminating where they close at the stem or prow. Ori 
the bow, an arch of the horizon, not exceeding 45 degrees, comprehended 
between some distant object and that point of the compass which is right 
ahead, or to which the ship's stem is directed. 

Bowlines, ropes made fast to the leeches or sides of the sails, to pull them 

Box off, is, when a ship having got up in the wind or been taken with the 
wind ahead, the head-yards are braced round to counteract its effect, and 
prevent the ship from being turned round against your inclination. 

Braces, ropes fastened to the yard-arms to brace them about. 

Brails, ropes applied to the after-leeches of the driver, and some of the stay- 
sails, to draw them up. 
Break ground, to weigh the anchor and quit a place. 

Breeching, a stout rope fixed to the cascabel of a gun, and fastened to the 
ship's side, to prevent the gun from running too far in. 

Bring to, to check the course of a ship by arranging the sails in such a man- 
ner that they shall counteract each other, and keep her nearly stationary ; 
when she is said to lie by or lie to, having, according to the sea-phrase, 
some of her sails aback, to oppose the force of those which are full. To 
come to is sometimes used with the sam emeaning ; although, more gene- 
rally, it means to let go the anchor. 

Bring iq>, to cast anchor. 

Broach to, is when, by the violence of the wind, or a heavy sea upon the 

quarter, the ship is forced up to windward of her course or proper direction 

in deBanoe of the helm. 
Bulkheads, partitions in the ship. 
Bumkin, a short boom or beam of timber projecting from each bow of a ship, 

to extend the dew or lower edge of the foresail to windward. 

Cable, a large rope by which the ship is secured to the anchor. 


course in a favourable direction ; particalarly on the beam or quarter ; 
hence, to sail iarge, is to advance with a large wind, so as that the sheets 
are slackened and flowing, &c. This phrase is generally oppcraed to sailing 
close hauled, or with a scant wind. > 

Lasking^ coarse is whoi a ship steers in a slanting or oblique direction 
towards another. 

Lie to, synonymous with Bring to. Heave to. 

Looming, an indistinct appearance of any distant object, as ships, moun- 
tains, &c. 

Luff, the order to the helmsman to put the tiller towards the lee-side of 
the ship, in order to make the >ship sail nearer to the direction of the wind. 

Main sheet, a large rope affixed to the lower comer or clew of the mainsail by 

which^ when set, it is hauled aft into its place. 
Main tack, another large rope affixed to the same comer of the sail, but to 

haul it on board or down to the chess-tree on the forepart of the gangway ; 

when set upon a wind, or close hauled, the foresail is furnished with similar 


Musket-shot distance, from 300 to 400 yards. 

Offing, implies out at sea, or at a good distance from the shore. 

Overhaul, to examine ; also to overtake a ship in chase. 

Pay round off, is, when near the wind, to fall off from it against the helm, and 
in spite of every eflbrt to prevent it. 

Pistol-shot distance, about 50 yards. 

Plying, turning to windward. 

Port the helm, the order to put the helm over to the larboard side of the ship. 
Used instead of larboard, on account of the affinity of sound between the 
latter word and starboard. 

Quarter, that part of a ship's side which lies towards the stem, or which is 
comprehended between the aflmost end of the main chains and the side of 
the stem, where it is terminated by the quarter-pieces. 

Rake a ship, is when the broadside sweeps another^s decks fore and aft, either 
by lying athwart her bows or her stem. Rake means also the inclination 
of the masts, bowsprit, stem, or stempost. 

Reef, to reduce a sail by tying a portion of it to the yards with points 

Ride, to be held by the cable. 

Round to, is when going large or before the wind, to come round towards the 
wind by the movement of the helm. 

Ship the tiller, &c., is to fix it in its place. 

Slipping the cable, unsplicing it within, a buoy and buoy-rope having been 
previously affixed to it, to show where the ship has left her anchor. 

1 This term is obsolete. 

Splicing, the mode by ^hidi the broken strands of a rope are united. 

Spring, to anchor with a, is, before letting go the anchor, to cause a smaller 
cable or hawser to be passed out of a stem or quarter pott, and taken out- 
side of the ship forward, in order to be bent or fastened to the ring of the 
anchor intended to be let go, for the purpose of bringing the ship's broad- 
side to bear in any given direction. 

Spring a mast, yard, or any other spar, is when it becomes rent or split by an 
orerpress of sail, heavy pitch or jerk of the ship in a rough sea, or by too 
slack rigging. 

Squadron, an assemblage of ships of war in number less than ten. See Fieet. 
Stand on, to keep on the same course. 

Starboard, the right side of the ship, when the eye of the spectator is directed 
forward, or towards the head. 

Stay, to stay a ship, is to arrange the sails, and move the rudder, so as to 
bring the ship's head to the direction of the wind, in order to get her on tlie 
other tack. 

Steer, to manage a ship by the movement of the helm. 

Tach, is to change the course from one board to another, or to turn the ship 

about from the starboard to the larboard tack, or vice versa, in a contrary 


Tant, or taunt rigged, means when a ship is very lofty in her masts. AU- 
a-tanto, is said when a ship, having had some of her masts struck, has 
rehoisted them. 

Tatit, a coiTuption of tig?it. 

Thrum a sail, is to insert in it, through small holes made by a bolt-rope-needle, 
or a marline-spike, a number of short pieces of rope-yarn or spun-yarn, in 
order, by the sail's being drawn over a hole in the ship's bottom, to assist 
in stopping the leak. 

Toic, to draw a ship or boat forward in the water, by means of a rope attached 
to another vessel or boat, which advances by the eflbrt of rowing or 

Turning to windward. See Beating. 

Unmoor, is to reduce a ship to the state of riding by a single anchor and 
cable, after she has been moored or fastened by two or more cables. 

Unship, is to remove any piece of timber, wood, &c., from the place in which 
it was fitted. 

Wake of a sliip, is to be immediately behind or in the track of her. It also 
means when a ship is hid from view by another ship. 

Warp a ship, is to change her situation by pulling her from one part of a 
harbour, &c., to some other, by means of warps (ropes or hawsers), which are 
attached to buoys, to other ships, to anchors sunk in the bottom, or to 
[ VOL. I. d 


certain gtatiomi on the shore, as posts, rings, trees, &c. The ship is then 
drawn forward to those stations, either by pulling on the warps by hand, or 
by the application of some purchase, as a tadde, windlass, or capstan. 

Way, a ship is said to be under toay, that is, to have way upon her, when she 
has weighed her anchor, and is exposed to the influence of the tide, cur- 
rent, or wind. 

Weather a ship, headland, &c, is to sail to windward of it. The weather-gage 
implies the situation of one ship to windward of another when in 
action, &c. 

Wear or veer ship, is to change her course from one board to the other by 
turning her stem to windward. 

Weigh, is to heave up the anchor of a ship firom the ground in order to pre- 
pare her for sailing. 

Work a ship, is to direct her movements, by adapting the sails to the force and 
direction of the wind. To work to windward is a synonyme of beat, tac^, 
turn to windward, &c. 

( xlvii ) 


That the British nation is greatly indebted to Mr. James, for 
the most faithful and mibiassed account of the different actions 
in which his majesty's ships and vessels have been engaged, 
does not admit of contradiction. It is true we have other naval 
histories. One indeed has been midertaken and compiled by an 
officer of high rank in his majesty's service, and although there 
is mnch ability in that history, yet it by no means enters into 
detail, either of the great actions, or those of single ships, with 
the accuracy, minntisB, or impartiality which is to be found in 
the work of Mr. James. 

In the first place, the Naval History alluded to above is most 
particularly inaccurate as to the different events which occurred 
during the Mutiny ; and although the historian was himself 
present on that unfortunate occasion, as lieutenant of one of his 
majesty's ships at Spithead, in 1797, yet has he contrived to fall 
into errors, which Mr. James avoided; and has inadvertently 
stated as facts what most certainly never occurred. " A letter 
to Vice-admiral Sir Thomas Byam Martin, K.C.B., containing 
an account of the mutiny of the fleet at Spithead, in the year 
1797, in correction of that given in Captain Brenton's Naval 
History of the last war," published in 1825, might have con- 
vinced the gallant officer of many very important mistakes, 
especially in regard to the London, the "letter" in question 
being from the pen of the captain of that ship during the mutiny. 
The reason given by Captain Colpoys for not having written his 
pamphlet previously to the appearance of the second edition of 
Brenton's Naval History, is not very flattering to that work. 

jhriii pBEiiAGfi bt the editor. 

" Discouraged " (he says, page 3) " by the general character of 
the work in question, for incorrectness and censorious stricture 
on the conduct of some officers of the highest rank and reputa- 
tion in our service, I did not look into the book for I believe 
more than a year after it came out." Captain Colpoys remarks 
also, " I was greatly surprised at finding, from the pen of an 
officer professing to have been an eye-witness^ and intimately 
acquainted with all the circumstances (see vol. i., page 411), so 
very erroneous a statement of the leading particulars of that 
event, and more especially of what took place on board the 
London, of which ship I was captain.'* If the reader will con- 
sult Mr. James on this point, he will see how inaccmate Captain 
Brenton has been. 

For the second and third charges against the historian, not 
entering into sufficient detail, and being partial ; one instance 
will suffice : — In the first edition of Brenton*s Naval History, 
p. 338, vol. iii., a long account was given of the action between 
his majesty's ship Phoenix, and the French frigate Didon. In 
the present edition of Captain Brenton's History, the account of 
this brilliant action is given in the following words : " Between 
the battles of Ferrol and Trafalgar, the Phoenix of 36 guns, 
captured the Didon, a French frigate of about the same force. 
I purposely omit saying anything more on the subject of this 
action which is given at length in the first edition. 2'hat account, 
which J believe to be correct, did not give satisfaction to sortie of tJie 
parties concerned^ 

Now it may be asked why, in the Preface to James's History, 
any remark concerning Captain Brenton's should be made ? For 
this reason: in vol. i., p. 152, of the new edition, the following 
note is appended to some remarks arising from the delay in 
securing the prizes after the action of the Ist of June : " I per- 
ceive that I am very amply quoted in Mr. James's new edition. 
Whether it is quite fair to do so, is a question which I shall not 
pretend to decide. I can only say that my permission has never 
been obtained, and never will be ; and that, at all events, it 
appears to me most unjustifiable to borrow so largely from a 
living author, and not to acknowledge the loan. I certainly 
cannot repay myself in kind. Mr. James's facts and statements 
I am not disposed either to borrow or to criticize. Mine are 
drawn from the best sources available in a long professional life, 
and from an acquaintance more or less intimate with most of the 
leading men of the period under discussion." 


Now 80 correct did the editor of James's History find the 
acconnt of the battle of the 1st of June in the former edition of 
Mr. James, that not one word was altered. It stands now, as it 
stood before, and in all probability will so remain to the end of 
time. Not one word has been borrowed from Captain Brenton, 
and although he is frequently quoted, a« are many French his- 
torians, the quotation is always acknowledged, and is generally 
selected for the purpose of showing into what errors historians 
may fall. It would be, for instance, quite useless to borrow the 
account of the Phoenix and Didon : the gallant officers of the 
English ship may well complain of their historian, as not a 
name is mentioned. Baker and his brave associates find the 
whole description omitted, becatise " the account did not give 
satisfaction to some of the parties concerned." A complaint of 
that kind cannot be alleged against this work. Mr. James 
coUected his materials with wonderful accuracy, and unceasing 
research. He published what he believed to be true, and cared 
very little whether it gave satisfaction or uneasiness. He wrote 
his history after years of toil and difficulty, and no other will ever 
displace it. He never altered his history, without proof was 
given him that he was in error, and had he believed a statement 
true, the words would have remained, in spite of all remonstrance 
Irom those who failed to disprove it. 

The British nation may rest satisfied upon the general correct- 
ness of the present work ; for, with the exception of about eight 
names being erroneously spelt, and ten christian names being 
omitted, only four objections to passages have been received by 
the editor. The principal error is as follows : In James's History 
it was stated that on the night of the 2nd of November, 1805, the 
Boadicea, Captain John Maitland, and Dryad, Captain Adam 
Drommond, after having chased the squadron under Monsieur 
Dnmanoir, discovered to leeward the squadron under Sit 
Bichard Strachan. Mr. James then says, " Having, without 
getting any answer to their signals, arrived within two miles of 
the CaBsar (Sir R. Strachan's ship), which was the weathermost 
ship of this squadron, and then standing close-hauled on the 
larboard tack, the Boadicea and Dryad, at about 10 h. 30 m. p.m., 
tacked to the north-east, and soon lost sight of friends and 
foes." The passage will be correct thus: "Having arrived 
within two miles of the CsBsar, which was the weathermost i^ip 
of this squadron, and then standing close hauled on the larboard 
tack, the Boadicea made the signal for an enemy being in sight, 


and although guns shotted were fired, and the lights kept up for 
more than half an hour, no notice whatever was taken of them. 
The Boadicea and Dryad with the wind at west-north-west, con- 
tinned steering to the north-east, and soon lost sight of friends 
and foes, the enemy having bore np during the thick squally 
weather which came on about 11 p.m.'' It will be seen by thk 
account, which is undoubtedly correct, that owing to the neg- 
lect on board the Caesar, both the Boadicea and Dryad were 
unfortunately prevented from taking any part in the action which 
occurred on the 4th of November ; the lights were seen by the 
Eolus, Lord William Fitzroy, who being farther off than the 
Gsesar, gave her credit for an equally proper look-out, and did 
not repeat the signal ; and thus, owing to the delicacy of the one 
and the neglect of the other, both Captain John Maitland, and 
Captain Adam Drummond, were deprived the honour of par- 
ticipating in Sir E. Strachan's action. 

Another error is relative to the affair between the Leopard 
and Chesapeake, on the 2l8t of March, 1807. James says, '^ It 
was these three men demanded at Washington, that on two 
accounts weakened the claim of the British. In the first place, 
the Melampus is not one of the ships named in the published 
copy of Vice-admiral Berkeley's order. Consequently the Leo- 
pard's captain, in taking away men who had deserted from the 
Melampus, exceeded, what appears to have been his written 
instructions." In justice to Captain Humphreys of the Leopard, 
we are bound to state, that he did in nowise exceed his orders. 
The reason assigned for taking the three men is, that they were 
clearly recognised as deserters. The other twelve Englishmeii 
were subjects (but not deserters) of the King of England, and 
not being within the limits of the order, were not disturbed. 
These three men were sentenced to receive five hundred lashes, 
itself a sufficient proof *that Captain Himiphreys's brother officers 
approved his conduct. The late Hon. Sir Greorge Berkeley, the 
commander-in-chief, wrote to Captain Humphreys a letter, In 
which he strongly commends him for his judicious and spirited 
conduct. For this we refer our readers to that excellent work, 
Marshall's Naval Biography. 

In continuing the Naval History to the present date, much 
information has been derived from Marshall's Account of the 
Burmese War, and from several pamphlets relative to that great 
and difficult undertaking. The Battle of Navarin is given from 
the best possible authority, and the work itself is brought up to 


the day after the last promotion, and finishes with the number 
of admirals, captains, commanders, &c., now on the naval list. 

In conclusion it may be remarked, that not the slightest allxt* 
slon made to Captain Brenton's Naval History, is meant in a 
tone of hostility to that production. It certainly becomes the 
editor of a work to dear the character of his principal from any 
allegation of pilfering other authors^ and although it must be 
admitted that no great work of times past can be written without 
recourse to the pages of others, yet has James, wherever he has 
borrowed, most scrupulously acknowledged the debt. In 
launching this new edition, the editor feels convinced that every 
impartial naval officer, to whatsoever country he may belong, 
win admit that Mr. James executed the work with the honourable 
intention of doing justice to every man, of holding up the brave 
and meritorious to the admiration of the world, and fearlessly 
condemning the tyrant or the coward. That the work is true 
and just in all its dealings, there can be no doubt, for if any part 
has been unjust or untrue, it became the duty of those who saw 
the errors, to correct them. 

Waltham Hall, Waltham Ahhej.-^March 1, 1837. 

Since writing the above. Captain Brenton's last number has 
appeared, to which he has affixed ** a Reply to some of the State- 
ments in James's Naval History.'* This must be answered. I 
trust Captain Brenton will believe me sincere, when I say that 
no officer stands higher in the estimation of the public, for phi- 
lanthropy, assiduity, and professional ability, than himself; and 
without flattery I add, that no man more richly deserves this 
eulogy than Captain Brenton. He has si)ent his youth in the 
senrice of his country, and his mature age for the benefit of the 
poor. With this opinion I trust it is impossible for any man to 
believe that I answer his Beply with the wish to detract from his 
character in the slightest possible degree, but merely that I am 
■iqiporting the foundation (if I may use the term in reference to 
Captain Brenton's allusion), on which by building, I have ao- 
cording to him, misapplied my *' talents." 

The *' Beply *' commences with an expression, of sorrow, *^ that 
neither Hr. James nor his Naval Editor should have steered 
a course through their literary labours without running foul of 
him or his book." Mr. James, in compiling his history, most 


assnredly referred to Captain Brenton's, and did certainly notice 
nmnerons errors in that work ; that he quoted it where occasion- 
ally he found it correct, is likely enough ; and how can history 
be compiled but by these means? But let us hope we are not 
like the silly beauty, who believed every word which detracted 
from an adversary was a compliment to herself. The two vorks 
in question are as different as night and day ; one is a cursory 
history of modem Europe, lightly touching upon naval actions ; 
the otiier is a naval history. The latter enters into every detail, 
and examines every question; it does not lightly skim over 
events, or give the account of a frigate action, such as the 
Nymphe and Cleopatra, in 14 lines and two words ; nor does it 
because some of the parties concerned were dissatisfied, ^* blot 
out the written record," and veil the gallantry of the Phoenix, 
in her action with the Didon, by damning it into two lines and 
three words. 

In all his general actions, with the exception of Trafalgar, 
Brenton is almost as concise. Individual praise is rarely be- 
stowed, and merited censure seldom inflicted. 

Captain Brenton' s first fire in his " Eeply," is directed against 
James and myself for misquoting him, calling a town, a tower. 
Admitted : for this, the printer's devil, who omitted to mark the 
correction made by myself, deserves to be chastised. 

Captain Brenton's second shot, is in reference to a theft com- 
mitted by James, in plundering certain parts of Brenton, from 
vol. i, p. 8, and never pleading guilty to the charge. I say, 
"not guilty." Let any person refer to the text, pp. 112 and 
113 of James, and if they can condemn me, they must be like 
Jeffrey, " and sentence letters as he sentenced men." 

3. If the Queen Charlotte's ports were four feet six out of the 
water, or five feet ten, I imagine no great harm is done to his- 
toric truth. 

4. Diagrams, according to Captain Brenton's opinion, are of 
very little use. In this fourth shot, no accusation is brought 
against James or myself: it is merely a sort of apology on the 
part of Captain Brenton, for not having, in his work, given any 
diagrams excepting for fleets at anchor. The one of Kavarin is 
recommended to the attention of Sir Edward Codrington. 

5. In regard to the maintopmast of the Queen Charlotte 
going over the side, Captain Brenton says, "that we know 
nothing about it :" very likely not ; but we give an extract from 
Lord Howe's despatch to prove that it did go. "The Queen 


Charlotte had then lost her foretopmast, and the main topmast 
fell over the side very soon after.'* (Brenton, vol. i., p. 136.) Now 
there seems some mystery, and some mysterious conversation, 
relative to this nnfortxmate maintopmast. All hands allow that 
it did go, and that is all which James states; but Captain 
Brenton says, ^^you know nothing at all about the matter; / 
know how the maintopmast was lost, and so do the gallant 
admirals, Sir Edward Codrington and Cochet. The conversa- 
tion on the Queen Charlotte's quarter-deck at that moment was 
highly edifying. Let me say no more. — '* This is particularly 
rich; we are all in the dark, and Captain Brenton, the f aithf id 
historian, will not show us a light. Now had Mr. James known 
of this conversation, which Sir Edward Codrington is thus 
called upon to give to the public, the reader might rest pretty 
certain he would have had it, word for word, without any regard 
to persons ; do not. Captain Brenton, hide your light under a 
bushel, and allow the grave to put its extinguisher over so 
ediiying a remark. 

6. "fhere is a note in James, vol. 1., p. 153, relative to the guns 
of the prizes taken on the 1st of June, being Swedish manufac- 
ture and chiefly of brass. Captain Brenton has kindly corrected 
this statement, and begs to inform the public that the guns were 
all iron, and likewise, that for the word " hursted,*' (James, vol. i., 
p. 155) the public are to read " burst'* This correction of a great 
historical fact, and of a typographical error is i)articularly useful 
and kind. 

7. Captain Brenton begs to inform M. Jean Bon St. Andr^, 
his heirs, his exec]itors, and as&igns, that he (M. Jean Bon St. 
Andre) is a special coward, and is not entitled to any praise, 
which by some " tortuosity of mind," might be twisted from the 
unqualified disgust expressed in the mention of him in James's 
Naval History. 

8. The anecdote concerning Sir Thomas Troubridge is a 
matter of taste, it has nothing whatever to do with history. 
I think Captain Brenton quite right in endeavouring to enliven 
his work. Mr. James's not requiring that excitement, has 
omitted it. 

9. Agreed : let us say no more about Lord Howe or the age 
of the prizes. I think there has been quite enough useless dis- 
cussion on both sides. 

10. Captain Brenton is at issue with James on the word 
"population" and "populace." We refer the public to Miss 

It! preface by THt: editor. 

sentence of a court-martial if "Sucli charges had been brought 
againfit an oflScer? "Frivolous and unfounded." It "will be 
perceived that I have answered them in the light manner I 
thought they deserved. Had any accusation been brought 
forward which really affected Mr. James's character as an his- 
torian, I should have defended him in a more sober style, or 
have given him up as a pirate. But this is not all: Captain 
Brenton asserts that no landsman can write a Naval History, 
because he cannot comprehend the detail of nautical manoeuvres, 
or understand the phraseology of a sailor. I defy Captain 
Brenton to point out oney only one nautical error in the whole of 
James's History, and this is perhaps the most wonderful part of 
the work. Every word is right, is strictly correct, and had 
Captain Brenton, who detected the grammatical error of the 
word " bursted,'* and seized with avidity on the typographical 
one of " tower,** been able to discover an error, the eye which 
so scrupulously scanned the pages, and the hand which recorded 
the two trifling mistakes above, would not have been inactive 
on the very ground on which he states no landsman can write a 
naval history. 

Tn defence of myself, if defence be necessary, let me say this 
much: I was censured by our best naval writer for having 
undertaken what he refased. I came to the task prepared to 
disarm every body. I erased many objectionable passages. I 
circulated a request that all ofiBcers would point out any errors 
in the former edition. T extracted the venom where the sting 
must remain, and in some cases, I iniused a balm calculated to 
dispel the rancour. In no wise do I hold myself responsible for 
any of Mr. James's personal remarks, neither do I expect to 
enhance my literary reputation by '* building on his foundation ;" 
but I trust that if in the course of this publication I have inad- 
vertently made an enemy, that Captain Brenton will receive me 
as a friend. 


PsBvionsLY to our entering upon the main subject of these 
pages, an inquiry into the origin and early progress of the British 
Kayy, particularly as respects the constructing, arming, and 
classing of the ships, cannot fail to be useful, and will not, it is 
hoped, proye uninteresting. The Great-Harry, built in the 
third year of the reign of Henry VII. (1488), was, properly 
speaking, the first ship of the royal navy. The Great-Harry 
had three masts, and, as late as the year 1545, was the only 
ship of that description in the British fleet. She is represented 
to have been accidentally burnt at Woolwich in 1553. If so, 
she had run 65 years ; which, according to the mean of modem 
terms of duration, was a very long period. 

It ifl probable that the Great-Harry was the first ship belong- 
ing to the nation ; but there is reason to beUeye that Bichard UL 
owned a few of the ships which he employed. The remainder, 
as it appears, were either hired of the merchants, or supplied, 
under a law of the state, by the Cinque Ports. Whatever may be 
the doubts on these points, histoHans agree, that to Henry YIII. 
is due the honour of having, by his own prerogative, and at his 
sole expense, settled the constitution of the present royal navy. 
He instituted an admiralty and a navy-office, appointed com- 
missioners, and fixed regular salaries, as well for them as for his 
admirals, officers, and sailors; and the sea-service, thencefor- 
ward, became a distinct profession.^ 

Gannons, or great guns, were used as early as the thirteenth 
century, in a naval engagement between the King of Tunis and 
the Moorish King of Seville.^ They were also used by the 

1 ArduBologii^ ToL vi^ P* 202, and ?oL > James'ii Military Dicttonary, tit, 

jL, p. 159. , Cannon, 

VOL. I. B 


English on land at the battle of Gressy, fought in 1346 ; and by 
the Venetians at sea, in or about the year 1380.* According to 
some printed representations still extant, the English used them 
on board their ships in the reigns of Richard III. and Henry YII- 
The guns were not then, as now, pointed through embrasuresi 
or portholes, but mounted en barbette, or so as to fire over the 
top-side, or bulwark, of the vessel.^ The ships, therefore, could 
have had but one deck ; and, when it is considered that they 
undoubtedly had but one mast,^ we may conceive what puny 
** ships " they must have been. 

The first appearance of portholes (invented, with some other 
improvements, by Descharges, a French builder at Brest) occurs 
in the representation of the Henri-Grace-krDieu, built at Erith 
in 1515, and said to have measured 1000 tons. No idea, how- 
ever, can be formed of this ship's actual burden, unless we knew 
in what manner the tonnage was cast. The invention of port- 
holes gave the power of adding a second tier of guns; and, 
accordingly, the Henri-Grace-arDieu appears with two whole 
battery-decks, besides additional short decks, or platforms, both 
ahead and astern. 

The nature, or caliber, of great guns was not, as at present, 
designated by the weight of the shot which they discharged,. 
One reason for this may have been, that the balls Were not all 
made of the same materials, some being of iron, some of stone, 
and some of lead,^ three substances which differ greatly in 
specific gravity. It appears, also, that hollow iron shots, filled 
with combustible matter, were very early brought into use. 
Hence, the weight of the shot was of too fluctuating a nature 
to serve for the classification of the gun that discharged it. 
Among the different species of English ship-guns of former days, 
was the " cannon," with its varieties, the cannon-royal, cannon- 
serpentine, bastard-cannon, demi-cannon, and cannon-petro. 
The term " cannon " is a singular conversion of the generic into 
a specific term. Its ambiguity may have given rise to the occar 
sional substitution of '* carthoun.'^ 

The Henri*>Grace-lirDieu appears to have mounted, in the 
whole, 80 pieces, composed of almost every caliber in use. Of 
these 80 guns, not more than 54, according to the clumsy draw- 
ing which has been handed down to us,^ were pointed through 
broadside ports. The remainder were mounted, either as bow 

1 Archttologla. vol vi., p. 205. leade."— C%amocX:'< Mcarine Architecture', 

« Ibid , p. 207. vol. ii., p. 44. 

. s Ibid., p. 202. s See the print tn the 6th TOlume of the 

4 ** aiottes of yron, shottes of stoen and Archasologia. 


or stem chasers, or as " murdering pieces/' upon the afterpart 
of the forecastle ; as, from its height and appearance, it then 
might tmly be called. The use of these murdering pieces (the 
muzzles of which all point in the direction of the maintopmast 
head) is not easily discernible. The ship had four masts ;^ and, 
as tiie Great-Harry was the first two-decked,^ so the Henri-Grace- 
iirDieu was the first three-decked ship built in England. In a 
list of 1552, the latter appears as the Edward. Here all traces 
of her cease. 

The next British ship of any note, and the largest of all that 
had preceded her, was the Soveraigne-of-the-Seas, built at 
Woolwich dockyard in 1637, by Mr. Phineas Pett.^ Her tonnage 
has been yariously stated. According to the account published 
bj tiie designer of her decorations, Mr. Thomas Heywood, the 
Sovereign measured 1637 tons.^ The exact agreement of this 
combination of figures with that denoting the year in which she 
was built, and its non-appearance in any tonnage-list of the time, 
render it likely that the figures, owing, perhaps, to the printer's 
mistake, were erroneously put together. In a list of the year 
1652y the Sovereign, or, as subsequently named. Royal Sovereign, 
stands at 1141, in one of 1677, at 1543, and in one corrected up 
to ]i740, at 1683 tons ; a difference principally, if not wholly, 
attributable to the various methods of casting the tonnage in 
vae at those several periods. 
However, it is an account of the ship*s armament which we 
, most require, and that Mr. Heywood himself has been at the pains 
to record. " She has," says he, *' three flush-deckes, and a fore- 
castle, an halfe-decke, a quarter-decke, and a round-house. Her 
lower tyre hath thirty ports, which are to be furnished with 
demi-cannon and whole cannon throughout, being able to beare 
them. Her middle tyre hath also thirty ports, for demi-culverin 
and whole culverin. Her third tyre hath twenty-sixe ports for 
other ordnance. Her forecastle hath twelve ports, and her halfe- 
decke hath fourteen ports. She hath thirteen or fourteen ports 
more within-board for murdering pieces, besides a great many 
loopholes out of the cabins for musket-shot. She carried, more- 
over, ten pieces of chase-ordnance in her right forward, and ten 
ri^lit aft, that is, according to land-service, in the front and the 
reare."' Numbering the guns, we find 126 as the establishment 
of this first-rate of the seventeenth century. 

1 Deirkk: Memoirs of theBoyal Navy, a list of 1527.— See Pepyg's Miscellanies, 

p. 8. vol. viii. 

* ArdHMdogfa, vol. iii., p. 266. * Cbarnock, vol. ii., p 283. 

* A 8afmSi», of 600 tons, oocuts In ' > Ibid. 


Mr. Heywood, doubtless, had no intention to mislead his 
readers ; but, it should be recollected, the SoTereign-of-the-Sea«, 
when he and his men \vere employed upon the carved work and 
ornaments about her, did not mount a gun. The ship lay in 
dock ; and all that he or they could know of her intended armftr 
ment must have rested on hearsay. In the total number ol 
ports, Mr. Hey wood is apparently correct. The error Ues in his 
having filled with guns the ten ports ** right forward, and the 
ten right aft;," as well as the six in-board ports on the forecastle. 
Beduce these, and there remain 100 ; the number of guns which 
the ship, when fitted for home-service, actually mounted. The 
pamphlet, containing Mr. Hey wood's very elaborate account^ of 
this ^^ incomparable ship," has, for its frontispiece, an alleged 
representation of her. But the authenticity of the drawing is 
doubtful; chiefly because, in many important points, in the 
port« and guns especially, it is at complete variance with the 

It is probable that, about the middle of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, the practice of placing guns of a dissimilar caliber on the 
same deck ceased to prevaU in the British navy.^ This was a 
decided improvement. For a variety of calibers occasions delay 
and confusion in handing up and fitting the shot; especially 
where, as was the case here, the differently-sized balls were to 
be used on one deck. About coeval with this improvement wai 
the removal of the greater part of that cumbrous pile of timber 
and iron- work, raised to so ridiculous a height at each extremity 
of the vessel. The ship found relief, also, in being no longeir 
armed with "murdering,** or in-board pieces; and, particularly, 
in having no standing bow and stern chasers, a portion of whinU 
were generally among the heaviest guns on board. Hence, from 
this time, an English ship of war could bring half the number of 
her guns into broadside action ; an advantage which she had 
;iever before possessed. 

The earliest list of the British navy, in which there is any 
classification of the ships, is probably that copied into Mr. 
perrick*s Appendix, (p. 303,) and bearing date in 1546. There 
King Henry s vessels, 58 in number, are classed, according to 
their '* quality," thus : — " Shyppes ;** " galleases ;" " pynnaces ;" 
" roo-baerges." Another list, bearing date in 1612, exhibits the 
classes following : " Shipps royal," measuring from 1200 to 800 
tons ; ** middling shipps,** from 800 to 600 tons ; " small shipps,*' 

1 It fills five quarto pages of Chaniock. Tessels so anned were occasionally cap- 
> In the French, and «ome other navies tuied during the eighteenth centuiy. 

1626.] DEFmiTIOX OF A SHIP. 6 

360 tons ; and " pinnftces," froBi 250 to 80 tons.^ It leill tend 
to clearness in our fatnre inquiries, if we at once give an expla* 
nation of some of these terms. 

A ship is defined to be ^* a large hollow building, made to pass 
over the sea with sails," without reference to the quantity, shape, 
cr position of those sails ; and, in this extended sense, the term 
appears to have been originally used. Hence, we are told that, 
before the days of the Great-Harry, all the ships of the royal 
navy had but one mast and one sail.^ That ship is alleged to 
have had three masts,^ and the Henri-Grace-k-Dieu, as already 
inentioned, four.* The galleas was probably a long, low, and 
sharp-'built vessel, propelled by oars, as well as sails ; the latter, 
t^erhaps, not fixed to the mast or any standing ya»l, but hoisted 
from the deck when required to be used. The lugger, or felucca, 
of modem days may serve for an example. The pinnace was a 
lesser description of galleas, and, most probably, had no mast, 
or, if any, a moveable one. The " roo-baerge," or row-barge, 
explains itself. 

The division of the British navy into rates appears, for the 
first tiine, in a table drawn up by order of Charles I. in the 
year 1626, and styled, ** The new rates for seamen's monthly 
wages, confirmed by the commissioners of his majesty*s navy, 
according to his majesty's several rates of ships, and degrees of 
ofScers."^ Those rates were, as, now, in number six, and con- 
sisted each of two classes, to which different complements of 
men were assigned ; but the armaments of the classes are not 
specified, they having probably been described in some pre-^ 
ceding order, which has not been preserved. One fact is obvious, 
that the division into rates was adopted, rather to regulate the 
pay of the ofiicers and seamen, than to mark any distinction in 
the force or cona(truction of the ships. Hence, at this day, tlie 
captain of every rate is paid differently. The same is also the 
^ase with many of the subordinate officers. 

The first appearance of a classification by guns occurs in what 
purports to be ''A list of all shippes, frigats, and other vessels 
iielonging to the State's navy, on 1st March, 1651,"^ (new style) 
1652. The number of classes, or subdivisions by guns, com- 
prised within tiie six rates, amounts to 23, exclusive of two, 
which may be called, unrated classes. These were hulks and 
idiailops. The latter were simply row-barges; the former, 

1 Charaodic, toI. ii., p. 24Y. « See p. 2. 

* ArduBologia, yol. vi., p. 203. " Obaraock, vol. IL, p. 2YT. 

> lUd, voL UU p. 2#& * Pepys'B MlaceUaniefl^ vol. ▼., pb i9^ 


stationary yessels, fitted with sheers to erect or remoye masts, 
and also, it is probable, with accommodations to lodge the officers 
and crews of vessels under repair. Although the hulks were 
generally old and nnsea worthy ships, one of them appears to 
haye been ^'boflding at Portsmouth." 

In the coarse of aboat 30 years several other unrated classes 
were added. Those only of which any notice need be taken are, 
sloops, bombs, fireships, and yachts. A list of November, 1668, 
shows that the sixth rate then comprised vessels monntuig as 
few as two gnns. Between that year and 1675, however, vessels 
of this small description appear to have been detached firom the 
sixth rate, and to have been classed by themselves as sloops. 
The 13 individuals named in a list of the year 1675, mounted 
each four guns, and averaged in size 42 tons. In what way tne 
latter were rigged cannot now be ascertained, because the mast 
and rigging books of the navy do not extend so far back ; but it 
is iH^bable, from their diminutive size, that tiiey had only one 
mast, and were sloops in the proper sense, or that to whidi the 
term, in marine language, is restricted.^ 

Bombs, which are vessels carrying, besides six or eight light 
guns, one or two heavy mortars, from which shells are thrown 
into a town or fortification, appear, for the first time, in a list of 
1688, and are said to have been invented by M. Beyneau, a 
Frenchman, and to have been first employed at the bombardment 
of Algiers, in 1681.3 

Fireships and yachts first appear in a list of 1675. The use 
of the fireship, as the name implies, is, by means of ignited com* 
bustibles, to set fire to the vessels of an enemy. The yacht is 
snnply a pleasure-vesseL According to Mr. Pepys, the Dutch, 
in the year 1660, gave Charles 11. a yacht called the Mary ; 
" until which time," he adds, " we had not heard of such a name 

Although a certain number of guns is made the sign, or deno«> 
mination, of every class within tiie six rates, the frequent occur- 
rence of the same number of guns under different rates shows^ 
that the classification by guns was, in some degree, subordinate 
to the classification by rates. A list, that gave the situation, 
or place of mounting, as well as the number of the guns on 
board the ships, would most probably show what it was that 
occasioned two classes, of the same apparent force, to be regis- 
tered under different rates. It so happens, that no list or 
abstract that has .been printed, or which is to be found among 

» Falooner, p. 48S. * Sse James's MUiUiy Dictknaiy, p. SS. • Derxidc, p. «9. 


the archiyes of the navy, contams any information on the sub- 
ject. There is, however, in existence a cnrions manuscript-list, 
or rather set of lists, bearing date in 1677, and drawn up by the 
command, and for tiie private use of Charles 11. The manu- 
script, which is elegantly written on vellum paper^ and bound 
in gilt morocco, with silver clasps, afterwards belonged to the 
late Sir Thomas Slade, who was made a surveyor of the navy in 
1755. Subsequently it came into the possession of the late Sir 
John Henslow, who was appointed to the same office in 1785 ; 
and at the decease of the latter, his executors presented it to 
Mr. John Knowles, of the Surveyor's Office, to whose kindness 
we are indebted for a perusal. 

These lists exhibit the number, nature, and weight of the guns 
on every deck ; the number of men assigned, as well for each 
caliber of gun, as for the ship's full complement ; the number 
and specification of the officers ; the tonnages ; the years and 
places in and at which, and the persons by whom the ships were 
built ; together with many other useful particulars. In or about 
the year 1650 a difference began to prevail, between the number 
of guns and men established upon the ships in " war at home," 
and in '* peace at home, and peace and war abroad." 

That differende, which is carefully noted in these lists, arose 
from an inability^to carry a sufficiency of provisions for then* 
crews. Hence, in the event of the ship's being ordered to a 
distance from home, both the men and the guns were partially 
reduced, in order to allow room for an additional supply of pro- 
visions ; and that in time of war as well as of peace. Upon the 
whole, the information contained in these lists fills up what has 
hitherto been considered a chasm in the early history of the 
British navy ; and so much of their contents as will elucidate 
our farther inquiries respecting the armament and classification 
of the ships of the seventeenth century we have incorporated in 
an abstract.^ 

A single glance at the abstract referred to will show what it 
was, besides the number of guns, that governed the classification 
of several of the ships. For instance. No. 11 in the second, and 
No. 15 in the third rate, mount each 70 guns ; but the one car- 
ries liiem on three, the other on two decks. Nos. 12 and 19 are 
similarly situated ; and so are a few among the inferior classes. 
Hence, it is a difference in the number of battery-decks that, 
without reference to the number of gmis, distinguishes the rates. 
The characteristic of a first-rate of 1677 seems to have been, to 

1 See Appendix, No. L 

8 rarTEODUCTION. [1677. 

mount her guns on three whole decks, a qnartei^deck, forecastle, 
and poop ;^ of a second-rate, to mount her gnns on three whole 
decks and a qnarter-deck ; ^ of a third-rate, to monnt hers on two 
whole decks, a qnarter-deck, forecastle, and poop ; of a fonrth- 
rate, to monnt hers on two whole decks and a qnartei^deck ; of 
a fifth-rate, to monnt hers on her first gnn-deck, from end to 
end, on her second, partially, with a few gnns on the qnarter- 
deck ; and of a sixth-rate, to monnt her gnns on a single deck, 
with or without any on her qnarter-deck. It is worthy of 
remark that there were, in these times, three-deckers of 64, 
' and two-deckers of 30 gnns ; and that many single-decked ships 
of the present day exceed, nay, nearly double, eyen the former 
in tonnage. 

Onr attention is next called to the calibers of the gnns, as- 
fdgned to the different classes in the foregoing abstract. Con- 
sidering the " yn " subjoined to cannon, to signify that the piece 
was that yariety of the cannon whose cylinder was about seyen 
inches in diameter, we at once identify the gun to be either the 
cannon-serpentine, or the bastard-cannon of Sir William Monson. 
Before we fix which of these two it was, it may be proper to 
state, that the Si and 8 inch cannon (cannonrrpyal and cannon) 
api)ear in no one list or abstract of the nayy that we haye seen. 
If they had been used preyiously to 1677, it could onfy haye 
been for a short time, and then merely as bow or stem chasers 
on the lower deck. It is probable, too, that they were of brass, 
in order to be of diminished weight. Looking at the weight of 
the cannon yn, as expressed in the original list, we find it to 
range between 65 and 54 cwt. : whereas, the weight of the cannon- 
serpentine, Sir William states to haye been 49 cwt., and that 
of the bastard-cannon 40 cwt Now the caliber, or diameter of 
the bore, of the eannon-serpentiner and bastard-cannon agrees 
not only with that of the cannon yn, but with that of the 
42-pounder, the sea-seryice gun which has since been brongfat 
into use. i/LoreoYer, the last-named gun agrees in weight, if not 
witii the cannon-serpentine and bastard-cannon, at least with 
the cannon yn. 

With respect, also, to the shots seyerally thrown by the can- 
non-serpentine, bastard-cannon, cannon-yii, and 42-pound gun, 
we shall haye no difficulty in showing, that they were all of 
nearly the same weight. For instance, the solid iron shot, that 
exactly fits a cylinder of seyen inches diameter, weighs a trifle 
oyer 48 lbs. ; but, a small space being usually allowed to inter- 

I No. 6 In tbe abstract is the Onlj ezosptkm to this rule. * Except No. Y. 

1677.] DIMENSIONS OF fi«OT. 9 

Tene between the circamference of the shot and that of the 
cylinder, denominated windage, (the expansion of the shot by a 
white heat, the incrustation of rust from damp, and the fonkiess 
of the cylinder after repeated firing, are the three chief con- 
fiiderations to be provided against by the windage,) the shot 
becomes reduced in diameter, until it weighs about 42 lbs. Or 
rather, the shot itself being the datum from which the caliber of 
Hie gun was originally determined, the latter was made to cor- 
respond with the former, allowing the customary windage. The 
riiot of seven inches diameter cannot, as we have shown, weigh 
more than 48 lbs. and a trifle : therefore, the 53} lbs. assigned 
by Sir William Monson,^ as the weight of the shot belonging to 
the cannon-serpentine, whose cylinder did not exceed seven 
inches, must be erroneous. It may have arisen from a typogra- 
phical mistake, in substituting a 5 for a 4 ; and then 43} lbs. 
would serve for the weight of a shot calculated for a seven-inch 
cylinder, only with less than the usual windage.^ If any further 
■proof were wanted, to show that the cannon vii and the 
42-pounder were the same gun under different denominations, it 
might be found in the faot» that such first-rates in the list of 1677 
M survived the first fifteen years of the new century, appear in 
the gun establishment of that time, with no other difierence 
in their lowei^deck armament than the substitution of 
** 42-pounders " for " cannons vn." 

The demi-cannon, without doubt, was the 32-pounder of after- 
days. The cannon-petro had, in the list of 1677, already 
changed its name to 24-pounder, and a 12-pounder (probably the 
ancient basilisk) also appears there. The whole-culverin and 
demi-culverin became subsequently the 18, and the 9-pounder. 
The saker, or sacer, both from its caliber and weight, was the 
Bi feet, 22 cwt. 6-pounder ; as was the light saker, the modem 
gim of ihe same nature, measuring six feet, and weighing 17 cwt. 
The minion was the 4-pounder : what name the 3-pounder of 
1677 had previously taken does not appear. 

It will be sufficient to say of the lesser calibers in Sir William's 
list, that they, or most of them, were afterwards called swivels ; 
dmply because, when again brought into use, they were mounted 
en stocks, or upright timberS) having (a pivot on which the gun 
traversed. Upon the degree of credit due to Sir Willian Mon- 

1 See Appendix, No. 2. the French,* into 44 and 46, and, in tome 

* Dffferent nations have different pro- of their light pieces, 46 and 47. The Eng- 

portioBa for determining the wludage. The lish windage, except for carronades, 1» 

Kipgifah for thttir long guns, divide the notoriously too grea^ and ought to he re- 

^Am teto 96,a«l the bore faito Si parts; dooed. 

10 INTRODUCTION. [1716. 

son's account of the ancient searsenrice ordnance, we are nnable 
to pronounce ; but the list certainly appears to have been drawn 
up without much care. At tiie same time, it must be owned, 
that greatjconfusion prevails in all the accounts which have been 
published on the subject ; as fieur, at least, as our researches have 
extended. The precise time at which the whole of the British 
sea-service gtms dropped their names of beasts and birds of prey, 
to assume those designating the weight of the shot they respec* 
tively discharged, cannot well be ascertained ; but the change 
certainly took place between the years 1685 and 1716, and that 
is sufficiently near for our purpose. 

Soon after the commencement of the new century, a surprising 
diminution appears in the number of rated classes belonging to 
the British navy. In the abstract of 1677, a total of 129 ships 
divide into 31 classes, exclusive of 10 sub-classes, separated on 
accoimt of a difiference in the distribution or calibers of their 
guns, or in the amount of their complements of men ; while, in 
an abstract taken in August, 1714, a total of 198 ships divide 
into only 10 classes. There is no great difficulty in explaining 
how this arose. A reference to tiie abstract of 1677 shows, that 
the 90, 70, 54, and 48, gun classes were the most numerous ; the 
majority of tiie others comprising but one or two individuals 
each, and those among the earliest built in the abstract. Hence, 
the capture, wreck, or other disposal of a ship frequently anni*- 
hilated a class ; and we find that, between the years 1^9 and 
1697, the British navy actually lost, by capture alone, 50 vessels : 
it is probable, too, that at least an equal number fell by the perils 
of the sea. 

King William, in the mean time, had built 30 large ships ; 
(17 of 80, 3 of 70, and 10 of 60 guns ;) and half that number 
of stiU finer ships had been captured from the French. Such 
ships of the 54-gun class, and of the classes between the 48 and 
42 inclusive, as had not been lost or disposed of, appear to have 
been reduced, the first to 50, the latter to 40 gun ships. Besides 
which, some ships, constructed to mount 40 guns, had been built. 
Several 30 and 20 gun ships had been built, or taken from thi^ 
enemy. Hence, the 10 rated classes of the year 1714 were, th« 
100, 90, 80, 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, and 10, gun-ship class ; the 
latter consisting of only one individual. 

The rates themselves api)ear, about this time, to have also 
undergone a reorganization. The first-rate now descended no 
lower than the 100, and the second, no lower than the 90 gun 
class. The third admitted all classes below the 90» and abovQ 




tiie €a The fourth took for ita limitB the 60 &nd 50 ; and th» 
fifth received all below the 50, down to the 30. The Mxth-rat* 
found room for every class below the 30, that hod not, for it-a de- 
Bominatjou, a term m which, aa eloops, bombs, &c., the number 
of gmia was not expressed. Desirous to show what, if any, pro* 
gresB in classification, armament, and size, half a century has 
prodnced, we will, by the aid of an abstract, investigate the state 
^ the nary at the death of George I., in June 1727. 

An AUlraci of the British Savy in June 1727.' 















No. fMB. 

;; iJ 

No. Pdi 

No. Pds 

No. Pdi 







30 'b 


On the foceof this abstract, there does not appear any greater 
increase in the size of the ships than the increased weight of the 
guns eeems to authoriEe. One improvement, however, is evi- 
dent : the poop or roundhouse deck is no loi^r armed. The 
two or four 3-pounders, formerly mounted there, now appear as 
ft-ponnders on the quarter-deck and forecastle. We have here 
no clashing.of classes on account of a similarity in the number 
of guns. On Hie other hand, that distinction between the rates, 
founded on the number of decks, and which so particularly cha^ 
racterises the abstract of 1677, b destroyed. 

The number of decks of afighting^ship is generally considered 
to be a tolerable eriterion of her force ; and, if every ship of war 
notoriously mounted the same number and nature of guns upon 
a deck, the expression, single-decker, two-decker, or three- 
decker, would be thoroughly understood. By this a deal of 

''Dm IMm or Ibe tabtE In the Inl laniUEe Is Uiat MtabLlshfd Id ni9, nod 

W>i> hivii nnifiil[T conmilFd rram offlcUl irbicb tna not duIctIsIIt varied Dnin 

[li« saDB ft» thoH lf43. Tbfi emplDymeiiL or ■w1v«l.guiu 

rtnJclAiaeflbyiD [o the luvy. aX or about this period (aea 

-it order contfaioed page 13), nndem qccfiBVry Ifae dlatluctiof 

tftaniiTSa Tlu 

12 INTRODUCTION. [1677. 

circumlocution, and of private, as well as of international bicker- 
ing wonld be saved. As, however, ships' decks vary in length 
from 70 or 80, to upwards of 200 feet ; and ships' guns, in cali- 
ber and weight, from the d-pounder of 11, to the 4:2-pounder of 
65 cwt., the simple term, one, two, or three-decker explains 
nothing. A strong instance, that occurs in the abstract of 1677, 
will illustrate this. There the three-decker. No. 12, is classed 
above the two-decker, No. 13 ;^ and no one would imagine, that 
a second-rate, of three decks, was not of greater force than a 
third-rate, of two decks. The first discovery to the contrary is, 
that the two-decker mounts the greater number of guns ; but 
that is only by a seventh : the next discovery is, that, in broad- 
side-weight of metal, she is the more formidable ship by nearly 
a third ; that of the 64 being 611, of the 74, 751 lbs. 

Let us suppose, for argument-sake, that some such expressions 
as these were in use : " A 10-port two-decker," " A 13, or a 14- 
port two-decker." Any one of these three terms ought to enable 
us to get at the total number of guns in the ship, as readily as if, 
according to the former supposititious case, all ships' decks were 
armed alike. Take a person, wholly unacquainted with naval 
technicalities, and, pointing to the ship, No. 7,^ as she lies on 
the water, ask him what number of decks she has. He replies, 
'^ Two." If he takes the pains to count her guns, he will agree 
with you, that she is a " 10-port two-decker." Show him, next, 
No. 4, and ask him what she is. After a slight pause, he will 
say, " A 13-port ^Aree-decker, that seems to want four ports in 
the middle of her ujtper deck." 

Tou smile at this double mistake of the landman's ; and, as 
the best mode of convincing him of his error, carry him on board 
the ship. As he stands on the gangway, looking with wonder 
above, around, and below him, you, pointing down the waist, 
ask him what is the name of that deck. He answers you^ 
** The lower ;" or, if his eyes can penetrate the hatchway below, 
or his recollection famish him with the number of tiers of cannon 
he counted when on shore, he may reply, " The middle deck." 
Tou assure him that the deck he is looking down upon is the 
upper deck. He raises his eyes towards the deck on which he 
is standing. Tou tell him that is the qtmrter deck. ^^ Quai*ter 1" 
he may think, if not exclaim, "why, it extends over more than 
half the ship, and only wants planking up in the middle to be the 
largest deck of the three." He may then be emboldened, on his 
part, to ask, "Why not call it the halfdeck?" He is carried 

1 See Appendix, No. L » See the Aort alMtiact at p. U. 

1677.] DECKS OF A SHIP Of WAR. 13 

below, and shown a small space between the wardroom door and 
the break of the quarter-deck, and informed that that is the 

Although it would be a vain hope to expect to change names^ 
which have stood their ground for ages, and are perfectly mider- 
stood bj the persons for whose use they were made; yet an 
endeavour to trace the origin of the terms by which the di£ferent 
decks of a fighting-ship are distinguished, may tend to elucidate 
many of the sti^tements, and those by no means the least im* 
portant, in the following pages. It is a remarkable fact, that the 
forecastle and quarter, or poop deck, although now the most in- 
significant, were once the only decks armed with guns. These 
were mounted, not as broadside, but as chase guns. Afterwards, 
a tier of them was placed on each side of the principal, or main 
deck ; but, until the invention of portholes, all the guns were 
mounted, as formerly mentioned, en harhttte} 

Almost the first use made of the power of pointing the gnna 
through, instead of over, the ship*s side, was to employ an addi- 
tional tier of them. The deok, which sustained the lower and 
heavier tier, was named, by the English, the lower, or gun-deck ; 
by foreigners in general, the first deck.^ The deck next above 
the principal deck, the English called the upper,^ foreigners the 
second deck. Hence, when a third deck was added, the latter 
had only to express it by that name ; while the English had to 
change upper into middle, and apply the former term to the 
third deck. 

Conformably to this arrangement, the English admiralty and 
navy boards call the single gun-deck, of what is commonly 
termed a one-decked ship, the upper deck, and the deck below 
it, upon which no guns are mounted, the lower, or gun-deck. 
With them, therefore, every reputed single-decked ship, except 
she be so small as to have no 'tween-decks, is, properly speak- 
ing, a two-decked ship: while foreigners, the French in par* 
ticular, designate the upper as the second deck, when only any 
guns are mounted upon the lower. When otherwise, the upper 
deck is described as the deck,^ and the guns placed upon it, as 
mounted in single battery;^ the lower deck, as the English 
would call it, being named the false, or imperfect deck.^ To 

1 See p. 1. deck ; but shipwrights, when they iwe 

* Premier pout* Fr, Prima coperta, lU that term, apply it, very properly, to the 
Primera cubiena, Sp, Krimeira cuberta, lower, or principal deck. 

Portug. Yer dek, IhUch, Forsta laget, * Le pont ; la seule batterie. 

Sfwid^iec , » En batterie. 

* Sailors firequentty name this the main^ * ** Faux-pont ^ pont aa-dessooa de la 

14 INTRODUCTION. [1571. 

call the lower, the gnn^deck, when, as in the case of two, or 
three decked ships, guns are also mounted npon the deck or 
decks above it, tends to confuse, rather than to distinguish ; but 
to call that the gun-deck, upon which no guns are mounted, is 
a gross absurdity. Tet, in official language, the lower deck of 
eyery ship is indiscriminately named the gun-deck, and the cabin 
at the after part of it the gun-room. So that the length of a 
modem frigate's " gun-deck," so frequently published for our 
information, is not the length of the deck whereon she mounts 
her guns, but of the deck beneath it, on which she lodges her 

It is, however, in the storey erected above the upper deck, 
80 called, that we must look for the most glaring, and as re> 
spects the armament of a ship, the most important, perversion 
of terms. The ancients were accustomed to build upon the short 
prow, or fore-deck of their galleys, a kind of turret, or small 
castle ;^ and the rudiments of this were plainly visible in the 
Venetian galleas, or greater war-galley, employed as late as 
1571. The origin of the names, forecastle, with the English, 
castella di proa, with the Italians, gaillard d'avant, or, ch&teau 
de proa, with the French, as well as of the terms of similar 
import used by other nations,' is thus readily traced. The term 
" gaillards," taken alone, includes, apparently, all that part of 
a ship's upper works intended for the accommodation of the 
pincipal officers. *' Commun^ment les logemens se pratiquent 
sur les ponts les plus elev^s, pour avoir des jours dans I'accas- 
tillage : c'est cette combinaison d'omement et de commodity qui 
forme ce que Ton appelle les chateaux ou gaillards."* The cor- 
responding elevation at the after-part of the ship was designated 
by substituting, either after for /or,* or poop for prow,^ except in 
England, where, in one instance, the term half-deck was used f 
but, in all others, quarter-deck, in reference, probably, to that 
portion of the ship's length over which it originally extended. 
The quarter of a ship is that part of the side which lies towards 
the stem, or which is comprehended between the aftmost end 

premfdre batterie." The Americans usu- > Traits EUmentaire de la Constractlon 

filly call this de(& the ber^A-deck, meaning des BAtimens de Mer; par M. Vial da 

that on whidi the ship's company is Clairbois, &c., I Paris, 1805, torn, i., p. 148. 

lodged. * Gaillard d'arri^re, ou ch&tean de 

1 As early as the twelfth century, poupe. 

"towers" in ships are recommended, from ' Castella di poppa, Ital. Castillo de 

wfaich'^to use the Eipears and other arms of popa, Span., &c. 

the time. See Antiquarian Repository, « See p. 3 : also Chamock, vol. li., p. 

vol. iii., p. 62. 449 : where Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovd, 

s Castillo de proa, Span. Castillo du as late as 1690, uses the term in the same 

groa, Portug. Yoor^astreel, DuMi. way. 
keuts, Swedith. 


of the main-chains, and the fiides of the stem where it is termi- 
nated by the qnarter-pie<ies ; but the qnarteT^deck is stated to 
extend all the way from the mainmast to the stem. This, how- 
ever, applies to English ships only : the French usually make 
the extent of their " gaillard d*arri^re " depend on the rate and 
class of the ship ; in some it extends to about three feet ahead 
of the mainmast, in others to scarcely double that distance from 
the mizenmast. Most nations, as we have just shown, called 
the elevation above the quarter<leck the poop.^ The French, 
however, named it la dunette. 

The fallacy of the term qimrter-deck betrayed itself as early, 
at least, as the year 1673; when the ship No. 16 in the first- 
given abstract,^ was armed with seven guns of a side on her 
quarter-deck, while mounting only twelve of a side on either of 
her whole decks. It was but to add to these, the two guns of 
a side on the forecastle, and on the poop, to produce within one 
gnn of a third complete tier ; yet no one, but an unsophisticated 
landman, would think of calling the ship a three-decker. No, 
not although the great Mr. Pepys himself may be found deno- 
minating certain French ships, from one of which the two ships 
at No. 16 in the abstract were actually modelled, '* ships with 
two decks and a half." These are Mr. Pepys's words : — " In 
1672 and 1673, the French brought a squadron of about 35 ships 
to Spithead, to join our fleet. There were several excellent 
shipB with two decks and a half^ that carried from 60 to 74 guns ; 
more especially one called the Superbe, which his majesty and 
royal highness went on board of: she was 40 feet broad, carried 
74 guns, and six months' provisions. Our frigates, being nar- 
rower, could not stow so much provision, nor carry their guns 
80 £ar from the water ; which Sir Anthony Deane observing, 
measured the ship, and gave his majesty an account thereof, 
who was pleased to command Sir Anthony to build the Har- 
wich,^ as near as he could of the Superbe's dimensions ; which 
was done accordingly, with such general satisfaction, as to be 
the pattern of the second and third rates built by the late act 
of parliament."^ 

In spite of so high an authority, however, the Harwich, and 
aH ships built like her, were, and still continue to be, called 
two-decked ships. 

1 The eleTatloQ that, in former days, abstract of 167Y, was the Harwich; the 

was frequently to be seen above the poop, other, the Swiftsare. 

wu called by the English the poop-royal. * See Pepys's Miscellanies, p. 268. The 

* See Aimendlx, No. 1. second and third rates alluded to are thflse 

s One fhip ot class No. 16 in the at Nos. 7 and 11 in the abstract 

16 INTRODUCTION. [1677. 

The forecastle and quarter-deck, which, in their practical 
application as terms, have thus so violated precision, were 
originally detached ekvations, that left the deck immediately 
helow them, or so much of it as intervened between the fore 
and main masts, open and exposed* Hence ships so constructed 
were said to be deep-waisted. The French term analogous to 
this is haut accastille, signifying a ship with high, or lofty upper- 
works ; certainly a more intelligible expression. Afterwards it 
was found convenient, particularly in ships of war, to connect 
the two short decks by a boarded passage on each side, called 
the gangway ; to support which were placed beams or rafters, 
that reached right across the ship. This gave to the whole 
such a continuous appearance that no person, not otherwise 
taught, would hesitate to call it, as our landman did, ^ the upper 
deck of the ship. And even a marine writer of France justifies 
the term : — ** On pent regarder les gaillards comme le pent le 
plus Sieve des vaisseaux, dont une partie est ihterrompue entre 
le grand mkt et le md>t de misaine ; ce qui forme deux d&mirponts 
au niveau Tun de Tautre."* 

Some advances have, however, since been made. The French, 
for instance, were accustomed occasionally to cover with a 
grating the open space between the two ** half-decks ;" and then 
it was no longer " les gaillards,'* or " les demi-ponts," but *' le 
pont de'caUbottis," the deck with a gi*ating. ** Je crois done 
que les vaisseaux du second rang pourroient avoir trois ponts 
sans gaillards, ou plutot les gaillards qui formeroient le troi- 
si^me pont, seroient joints par des caUbottis, comme on Fa vil 
au Tonnant. De tels batimens, qu^on pourroit regarder comme 
n^ayant que deux ponts, seroient, au moyen du pont de caUbottis, 
&c."^ In more modem times, each passage, or gangway, has in 
some cases been widened, so as to admit a gun to recoil ; or, if 
necessary, as many guns aa the passage, from its length, can 
receive. But even this, with the English, is not allowed to take 
from the deck that is imdemeath, and which is now almost 
covered from sight, its ancient name of upper. The ship, there- 
fore, should particularity be requisite, not otherwise, has a new 
deck assigned to her, called the 6par-deck, a name, of the origin or 
application of which every one seems ignorant. If it is because 
the ship's spare spars are stowed on that deck, so are they in 
the same place on board every ship ; namely, on each side of 

1 See p. u. 

* Yocabulaire des Tonnes de Marine; > Elemens de 1' Architecture Navale; 

par CD.Le8callier,Ordoniiatettrde Marine; par M. Duhamel du Mouceau; 4 Fuis, 

& Paris, I'an 6. (1798.) 1762. 

1B77.] UECKa OF A SHIP OF WAR. 17 

the launch, between the fore and main masts. The French say, 
** Font snr gueule,** which may be rendered, " the deck huUt 
over the mouth of the upper deck," commonly called the waist. 
Why is this not as complete a deck as any in the ship ? Hence^ 
as no one yentnres, in common utterance, to speak of a spar-- 
decked one, two, or three decker, a ship of this construction may 
mount a whole tier of cannon beyond what her denomination 
expresses ; and we shall, by-and-by, have to adduce some very 
fonnidable examples. 

Not only the three and the two, but the single-decked ship 
feels, and that to a greater extent, the inconvenience of this 
ambiguous nomenclature. For instance, a ship that mounts 
28 guns on a single deck, and 14 on the quarter-deck and fore-* 
castle, it is thought necessary to reduce, by cutting away the 
two latter short decks; thereby exposing to view her main 
battery-deck, from end to end, and disarming her, of course, of 
14 ont of her 40 guns. Yet this ship, materially altered as 
she is in her form, and stripped of a third part of her numerical 
force, undergoes no change of name : she is still a single-decked 
ship. It is true, that a similar operation performed upon the 
two, or the three-decker, would lead to a similar alteration in 
the form, and some, but not so great, a reduction in the force. 
A two, or three-decked ship, so cut down and reduced, would 
also retain her former name. But two, or three-decked ships, 
without quarter-decks, are of rare occurrence ; while single- 
decked Tessels of that form are very numerous. They descend 
to the lowest small-craft that has a deck upon which guns are, 
or may be mounted. It is likewise true, that the term flush- 
decked has been used to signify, that the single-decked ship of 
war, so named, is constructed without an over-built quarter-deck 
and forecastle. 

Flush, in this its arbitrary signification, is synonymous with 
level. A flush-deck is, therefore, a level or even deck, through- 
out its extent.^ In this sense is not every principal of fore-and*^ 
aft deck of a ship a flush-deck ? Were not the three whole 
decks of the Sovereign-of-the-Seas called, by one who in that 
respect is no mean authority, ** three-flushe-decks P' The term 
was evidently first used in the merchant-service, and stood 
opposed to that form of deck, which, as it runs aft, suddenly 
rises by a step or two, and then continuing in a line to the stem, 
becomes the quarter-deck of the vessel. Ships of this construc- 
tion were described, properly enough, as deep-waisted ; and the 
1 The Franch say, ** Ua pout entier, sans ravalement, nl interrnptions." 

TQL. I. G 




geaeriditr of merchaal^-TesBele are, to this da^, built in that 
maimer. Were fiush, as meaning level, withont fall or rieing, 
to be need in reference to the apper edge of the gnnwale, or 
plansheer, of the Bhip, instead of to her deck, it would eeire per- 
fectly well to diitingnieh an open-decked, from a qnartef'decked 
ship of war. For both the quarter-deck and the forecastle bnl- 
warks cease at the extremities of the gangway ; and the inter- 
mediate drop intlie line (now perpendicular and abrupt, formerly 
softened down by a scroll or figure) ia merely rendered less 
obvious, by the presence of the hammocks stowed in the waist 
nettings, or of the painted canvas that covers them. The 
French term correBponding with flufih-sMp, or flueh-bnilt ship, 
is, " Tin b&timent pexi de long en long ;" and that even a three- 
decked ahip, according to the French application of the term, 
'Mea gaillards," or the quarter-deck and forecastle, may be with- 
out any decks of that description, is clear from the followiug 

M. Clairbois informs ns, that the French YiJle-de-Patis, until 
anbeeqnently raised upon so as to monnt 12 or 14 guns more, 
was a 90-gun ship, " sane gaillards." Her original force we 
get from his book, and her dimensiouB and tonnage from the 
records In the navy office, the Ville-de-Paris having since (when 
a lOl^iun ship) been captured by the British. To facilitate a 
comparison that we may afterwards have occasion to make, we 
subjoin the name, dimensions, and force of a British quarter- 
decked 90, built iu 1766, which was about the time that the 
Ville-de-Paris herself was built. 




1 C.«U..««.G... 



'*"'■ Deck. "'"• PorfciaL 




Fl Id 
lit lU 

Ft. In. 

63 at 




It may here be remarked, that flush-Bhips, whether single, 
two, or tiiree deckers) for tJie term is equally applicable to all 
of tliem), have, aocording to the English seaman's phrase, a 
quarter-deck and forecastle ; that is, two imaginary lines are 
drawn across the dec^ one even with the foremast, the other 

1677.] FLUSH-SHIPS. 1^ 


with the after side of the gangway-entrance ; and that portion 
of the deck which lies abaft the latter line is called the quarter- 
deck, that ahead of the former, the forecastle. The term gang- 
way, like many others, is ambiguous in its meaning. It stands 
for the passage that leads from the quarter-deck to the forecastle, 
and, in that sense, is rendered in French by " passe-avant." It 
means also the entrance to the ship's deck from the top of the 
outside ladder ; for which there appears no corresponding French 
term. The ladder nailed to the ship's side they call '* echelle 
hoEB le bord." 

Shipwrights know of no such ideal decks as quarter-deck and 
forecastle, in cases where the deck is continuous fore-and-aft ; 
nor is the French term, '* gaillards," at all applicable to them 
neither are we aware, whether or not the French naval people 
make a similar division of the upper deck of their flush ships. 
Still there are two terms, and those in general use, which, in a 
great degree, depend for their correctness upon the admission of 
the very teiins, quarter-deck and forecastle, as divisional parts of 
a flush deck For instance, flush vessels, of the smaller sorts 
especially, are seldom without a raised deck forward, that over-. 
hangs and covers nearly the whole of the imaginary forecastle ; 
and that short deck is called the topgallant forecastle. Its use 
18, not to be a platform for guns, but to shelter the crew from 
the rain and the break of the sea. Corresponding with this, 
there is often, on board the larger flush ships, a short deck at 
the stem, named after, and every way resembling the poop. Its 
principal use is to be a roof to the captain's cabin. When con- 
fined to this office, the French call it " la petite teuge ;" when 
extended forward to, or a little ahead of the mizenmast, they call 
it " le demi-gaillard.'* Their term " la dunette " seems applicable 
only, when this short deck is erected over ** le gaillard d'arriere," 
or the proper quarter-deck. Both these short decks, the top- 
gallant forecastle and poop, are usually without bulwarks, and 
therefore very slightly interrupt the continuous line, which, in 
our humble judgment, gives, or should give, the name to the 
flush ship. Although it is common for two, and three-deckers, 
except the lowest class of the former, to be constructed with 
poops, yet some ships are built without any, and others have 
them, for various reasons, cut away. If we take no account of 
these, it is because the slight operation they undergo causes no, 
or a very slight, reduction in their armament ; and it is as it 
aflecte her armament only, tha a ship's construction can claim 
any part of our attention. 

20 INTRODUCTION. [1677. 

As these pages are not intended for the exclnsiye perusal of 
professional men, we shall be pardonted for qualifying some 
terms, and altering others, so as to render our expressions in- 
telligible without the aid of a pai'aphrase. Accordingly, in this 
work, the several decks of a fighting-ship have been, and will 
be called, first, second, and third, instead of lower, middle, and 
upper. For example, we say, not lower deck, middle deck,, 
ujpper deck, but as foreigners invariably do, first deck, second 
deck, third deck. Where a ship mounts the principal part of her 
guns on a single deck, we shall avoid saying, with the French 
and others, " the deck," by adjoining the word " main.*' Hence, 
a frigate's single battery-deck is her mam deck; and so, indeed, 
it is generally called, for the reason that sailors are accustomed 
to call by that name the upper deck of every ship. Shipwrights, 
on the other hand, denominate the lower the main-deck ; and to 
that, as a battery-deck, the term is every way the most appli- 
cable. We shall merely connect main, with first, thus, first or 
main-deck, in order to its ready application, where wanted, to 
single-decked ships. To meet the term " faux-pont,** as applied 
by the French to the deck that is below the main-deck of the 
latter class of vessels; and to avoid the paradoxical expression 
of lower deck, as applied to a reputed single-decked ship, we 
would say, with the Americans, the 2>er^A-deck, as being that on 
which the crew are lodged. However, the expression will be 
seldom required, and therefore less liable to ofiEend those who 
may think it unwarrantably used. 

As 99 out of every 100 two and three decked ships are con- 
structed with a quarter-deck and forecastle, we may consider the 
latter as almost necessary appendages to the former ; at least, 
we may venture to designate a ship, so constructed, as the 
common (adding, if necessary, or quarter-decked) two or three 
decker. No such adjunct, however, need be used, unless a flush 
two or three decker presents herself to notice. With respect to 
single-decked ships, commonly so called, the case is different. 
The flush ship has become a greater favourite than formerly ; and 
the navy-lists of all countries now contain whole classes so con- 
structed. Precision would therefore require, that we should 
mark well the distinction between the quarter-decked and the 
flush one-decker; and at the risk of frequently clogging our 
meaning with obscurity, we should be compelled to make the 
attempt, were it not that some other terms have stepped in, and, 
by narrowing the discussion, saved both the reader and ourselves 
from any embarrassment on the subject. 


^ We have already shown that the term ship means any yessel 
that paases over the sea with sails.^ But that is its general 
meaning : it has also a specific one, fully as well known. Ac- 
cording to this, the term signifies a square-rigged vessel of at 
least three masts. The square-rigged vessel of two masts is 
denominated a brig ; and the minor classes, that are not square* 
rigged, and which comprise sloops, cutters, schooners, &c., 
generally pass, among seafaring people at least, by the sweeping 
appellation oi fore-cmdHift vessels; an expression used in refers 
ence to the cut of their principal sails. Now, as the only 
qnarter^ecked brigs of war that we know of are a few belong- 
ing to the navy of Spain,^ it may be taken for an axiom in naval 
a&jrs, that brigs of war, and all the small-craft below them, 
are flush-built: consequently the latter term, when they are 
mentioned, need not be used, but becomes applicable to one-> 
, decked «^tp-rigged vessels only, and is even still more restricted, 
as we shall presently show. 

No sooner was anything like system adopted in the conduct 
of engagements between fleets than it became necessary that the 
line of battle should be composed of the larger and stronger 
ships, as being those the best able to bear the brunt of such 
encounters. The earliest list in which a separation of this 
kind appears is that of *the British Channel fleet, under Admiral 
Bussel, in 1691. There the honourable distinction of line-of- 
battle ship descends to the fourth-rate inclusive, and, with one 
exception to be noticed hereafter, has so continued ever since.' 
Exclusive of the ships destined to take their stations in the line 
of battle, there were attendant vessels, the duties of a portion of 
which were, to reconnoitre the enemy, to chase away stragglers, 
and to perform various other detached services : the remainder 
consisted of hospital-ships, bomb-vessels, and fire-ships. The 
reconnoitring or cruising poilion usually comprised the fifth 
and sixth rates, and were denominated frigates. A navy was 
therefore composed of, line-of-battle ships^ frigates, bomb-vessels, 
fire and hospital ships : the two first, as comprehending within 
the six rates the bulk of the fighting navy, constituted the two 
grand or principal divisions. 

No one can dispute the propriety of the term line-of-battle 
ship, as above applied. We will now endeavour to ascertain 

I See p. 6. navy, in which the •• Une-of-battle" classes 

* The Port-Mahon and Vinc^o, each of are separated from the others, is one of 
377 tuos, were so constructed. the year 17 14.— See Derrick, p. 124. 

* The first published abstract of the 




how friggot,* frigat,^ or in modem English, frigate, a term that 
in itself conveys no meaning, became investe'd with the exten- 
sive signification which we have also shown it to possess. The 
author of the '* Dictionnaire de la Marine," published at Amster- 
dam in 1739, is the earliest writer we know of that treats on the 
frigate. He says, ** The word fregate derives its origin from the 
Jd^editerranean, where it was usual to -designate as frigates long 
vessels, that used both sails and oars, and carried a deck, of 
which the top-side, being higher than that of galleys in general, 
had openings resembling portholes, for the oars to pass through." 
— " Ce mot de frigate tire son origine de la M^terran^, ou 
Ton appeloit frigates de longs b&timens k voile et k rame, qui 
portoient couverte, et dont le bord, qui etoit beaucoup plus haut 
que celui des galeres, avoit des ouvertures, comme des sabords, 
pour passer les rames."^ What occasioned these sailing galleys 
to be named fr^gata^ is not very clear; but, at all events, we , 
may safely conjecture, that the principal quality for which they 
were famed was swiftness of sailing.^ 

The contiguity of France, by her Mediterranean frontier, to 
the waters that gave birth to the **fr^gata," renders it easy to 
conceive that, ere many years had elapsed, vessels of a somewhat 
similar form, bearing the same name, appeared in the Channel. 
Augmented size and a bluffer body would diminish the rate of 
sailing, but were requisite, nevertheless, to counteract the storms 
and swells of a northern sea. Towards the middle of the ^six- 
teenth century, the generality of English merchant-ships were 
called frigates ; some of which, towards the latter part of the 
century, were, as we are informed, hired from the merchant, to 
serve in the British navy. Accordingly, in a list of 1588, we 
find, among the ** ships serving with Sir Francis Drake," the 
" frigat Elizabeth Fonnes," of 80 tons and 50 men ; but how 
armed does not appear. A merchant-vessel, requiring the 
greater part of her hull for the stowage of her cargo, would 
carry her guns in a single tier : and there can be no doubt that 
the merchant-ships of those days were far better sea-boats than 

I Fuller in his Worthies. Pepys, Raleigh, 
&c. Mr. Derrick, whenever he quotes 
passages from these an4 other English 
writers, alters the language to the modem 
Btandani. This is highly improper; as, 
were the reader not aware that such a 
liberty had been taken, he might justly 
doubt the autbentidty of the quota- 

* Johnson. Mr. Todd also spells it In 
the same manner. We may here remark* 

that Johnson, or rather his printer, has 
misspelt the French word, calling it 
Frigate instead of Fr4gate. Both in Mr. 
Todd's edition and Mr. Chalmers's Abridg- 
ment the same error prevails. 

* Diet, de la Marine, p. 498. 

« "Fr^atai Picciol navllo da remo." 

> The French give the name oifrigaU 
to A very swift-flying sea-gull. 

•1588.] . FRIGATES. 2S 

the menrof-war ; the tier-upon-tier of cannon and lofty upper- 
works of which rendered thera fitter to be gazed upon in harbour, 
than to withstand the rough weather they must have been ex- 
pected to encounter on the ocean. 

Towards the close of the sixteenth century, Sir Eobert Dud- 
ley, commonly called the Duke of Northumberland, prepared 
•draughts of seyen distinct classes of ships of war : the Galleon, 
Eambai^o, Galizabra, Frigata, Gallerone, Galerata, and Fassa- 
Yolante. The accounts are not very satisfactory, as to the 
number and nature of guns which it was intended for each to 
mount.^ Among them was a ship measuring 160 feet in length, 
and 24: in breadth, and constructed to carry a tier of guns on a 
single whole deck, besides other guns on two short decks, that 
resembled the quarter-deck and forecastle, or rather, not being 
united by gangways, the poop and topgallant-forecastle. Here 
the disposition of the guns is the same precisely as that which 
characterizes the modem frigate ; and it is a singular fact, that 
this ingenious nobleman named his vessel, thus constructed and 
armed, Frigata. Sir Robert, early in the ensuing century, sub* 
mitted his draughts to government ; but, although some bene- 
ficial hints may have been taken, it does not appear that his 
proposition met a favourable reception. To prove his own con- 
fidence in his plan. Sir Eobert, in the year 1594, caused a vessel 
to be built at Southampton, of a similar form to his intended 
GuUeon, but measuring only 300 tons. With this vessel, which 
mounted 30 guns (of small calibers, no doubt), the inventor 
made a voyage to India; and, according to bis report, the 
vessel fully answered his expectations.^ 

The author of the ** Dictionnaire de la Marine " states, that 
the English were the first to name as frigates, upon the ocean,^ 
long vessels, armed for war, having the deck much lower than 
that of galleons and ordinary ships.^ This undoubtedly refers 
to single-decked vessels; but it is not clear whether, by 
'' bUtimens arm6s en guerre,** is meant regular king's ships, or 
armed ships hired of the merchants, and to which, as we have 
already shown, the name frigate was commonly applied. The 
probability, that the latter were those alluded to, is strengthened 
by the fact, that the first list of king's ships,. one of 1604, in 
which any frigate appears, contains only **a French frigat." 

1 For the draughts, see Chamock, vol. aient appel^ frigates, snr I'oc^an, les bAtl- 

iL, p. lit. mens longs, arm^ en gaerre, qui ont le 

* See Chamock. voL il., p. 177. pont beaucoup plus has que celui des ga- 

* As distiDgnished from the Mediterra- lions et des navires ordinaires." — Diet, de 
neansea. ia ifarine, p. 499. 

^ "Les Alices oont les premiers qui 

24 INTBODUCTION. [1636. 

TluB vessel stands the last bat one in the list, and, from her 
burden, 15 tons, must have been little better than a boat. The 
next list of king's ships, in which the frigate appears, is one of 
1633. There the two last yessels are the ^^ Swann Mgat," and 
'* Nicodemus frigat,*' each of 60 tons, 10 men, and 3 guns. In 
a subsequent list, they each appear with a different tonnage, 
number of men, and guns. One may conjecture that, as Charles I. 
made frequent visits of inspection to Ids different naval depots, 
the Swan and Nicodemus were elegant, fast-sailing little ships, 
built to attend him thither ; and it is not unlikely, that the 
diminutive French frigate of the former list had also been con- 
structed for pleasurable purposes. 

Fuller, who wrote in or about the year 1660, says, **We 
fetched the first model and pattern of our friggots from the Dun- 
kirks, when, in the days of the Duke of Buckingham, then 
admiral, we took some friggots from them, two of which still 
survive in his Majestie's navy, by the names of the Providence 
and Expedition."^ Now, the Duke of Buckingham appears to 
have filled the office of Lord High Admiral from 1619 to about 
1636, and the names Providence and Expedition occur, both in 
the list of 1633, and in tiiat of 1652, which is the next that 
appears in print. But the figures denoting the tonnages, men, 
and guns of the ships, in these early lists, are too contradictory 
to enable us to state more, than that the Providence and Expe- 
dition were small ships, mounting from 20 to 30 guns, the chief 
of them on a single deck. Mr. Pepys, also, whose authority in 
all matters respecting the ships of the British navy stands very 
high, says thus : '* The Constant* Warwick was the first frigate 
built in England. She was built in 1649, by Mr. Peter Pett, 
for a privateer for the Earl of Warwick, and was sold by him to 
the States. Mr. Pett took his model of a frigate from a French 
frigate which he had seen in the Thames ; as his son. Sir Phineas 
Petty acknowledged to me."^ Mr. Pepys, in his ^^ Memoirs 
of the Navy," invariably, we observe, spells frigate frigat ; but 
Mr. Derrick's correcting hand, and our inability to get a sight 
of the " Miscellanies " and ** Naval Minutes " (stated by Mr. D. 
to be in Magdalen College, Cambridge), compels us, in quota- 
tions purporting to be from them, to spell the word, and indeed 
all the words, as if they had been written at the close of the 
eighteenth, rather than of the seventeenth century. 

Mr. Pett may have taken his model some years before he was 
called upon to build a vessel from it ; and there is no reason to 

1 Fuller's Worthies of England, voL il., p. 342. * Derrick, p. 76. 


«appo0e that the French frigate was a national frigate. She was, 
most probably, a privateer ; and may have been one of the many 
that the enterprising ^* Dnnkirks," a& Fuller calls them, had 
fitted oat. Both writers refer to a model, or pattern, as if there 
were something in their frigate to distinguish her firom the 
generality of ships of war ; and yet neither has taken the pains 
to give the faintest description of what that peculiarity, whether 
of form, or of armament, or of both, consisted. We may gather 
that the prototype, as she was a privateer, vms a swift sailer, 
and not of very large dimensions or force. To arrive at any 
Airther particulars, we must grope a little deeper into the records 
of these early times. 

The name of the Constant- Warwick occurs in several lists 
between 1652 and the end of the century ; but in scarcely any 
two of those lists does the ship appear with the same tonnage 
and number of guns. Both the year in, and the place at which, 
and even the person by whom, she was built are differently 
stated ; yet there was, undoubtedly, but one ship of the name in 
the British navy. Without quoting from so many contradictory 
authorities, we shall briefly state the result of our very careftd 
reeearches on the subject. 

The Constant-Warwick was built in 1646, at Eatclifife, by 
Mr. Peter Pett the elder, for the use of the Earl of Warwick, as . 
a privateer, or, in softer language, as a sort of private-armed 
cruising yacht. She measured, in ihe modem way of computing 
the tonnage, from 380 to 400 tons, and mounted 26 guns ; con* 
sisting of 18 light demi-culverins, or short 9-pounders, on the 
maiurdeck, six light sakers, or short 6-pounders, on what wa« 
tirtnally the quarter-deck, and two minions on what, as being of 
no greater extent than was requisite for a roof to the chief officer's 
cabin, may be called the poop. We have seen several draughts 
of English fifth and sixth-rates, as they were constructed in the 
latter half of the seventeenth century, that correspond exactly 
with this arrangement of the guns. The deck on which the 
sakers are mounted is really a whole deck, reaching from stem 
to stem ; but the bulwark, or barricade, commences only where 
that of the modem quarter-deck does, at the after side of the 
gangway-entrance. A ship, of the size and armament of the 
Constant- Warwick, well formed in her carene, or lower body, 
lightly but handsomely ornamented in her upper-works, and 
figged according to the most approved plan of the day, did no 
discredit to the name of frigate, now first applied in England to 
any determinate form of vesseL 

26 INTRODUCTION, [1652. 

. The earl enb^equently disposed of his frigate to the common- 
wealth, bat not, as it would appear, until she had afforded 
decided proofs of her superiority of sailing. At what precise 
time the transfer took place is uncertain ; but the first list, in 
which the Constant-Warwick appears as a national ship, is one 
of 1652. There she classes as a fifth-rate, of 28 guns. In another 
list of the same year, her guns are stated at 32 : a difference to 
be explained, perhaps, by one being the lowest, the other the 
highest, number of guns assigned to the ship in her new employ.^ 

The English were always fond of over-gunning their vessels ; 
and it generally happened, when an English ship of war was 
taken by the French, that the latter, before they sent her forth 
as a cruiser, reduced, sometimes by a full sixth, the number of 
her guns. One instance may suffice. The Pembroke, when 
captured by the French, at the commencement of the eighteenth 
century, mounted 64 guns ; but, when recaptured shortly after- 
wards, had an board only 50 guns, and these as the whole of 
her establishment.^ 

An addition of six guns to the Constant- Warwick's original 
tiumber was, perhaps, no improvement ; but what shall we say 
to an increase of 20, or, at all events, of 16 guns ? Our suspicion 
that this had taken place was excited by seeing the name of the 
Constant-Warwick, as one of the six fourth-rate 42-gun ships, 
enumerated at No. 30 in the abstract of 1677.* There the ship, 
having her two bow-ports filled, carries 20, instead of 18 demi- 
oulverins on what is now, in truth, the first gun-deck ; and, 
having her quarter-deck bulwark continued forward on each side 
to her stem, readily finds room for a second whole tier of guns. 
The number first mounted on this second deck was probably 20, 
the same as on the deck below. Afterwards, 18 were considered 
enough; especially as the guns were not sakers, but demi- 
culverins, the same as on the first gun-deck. The poop, by this 
new operation, and, x)orhap8, by a little extension forward 
becomes the quarter-deck, and is armed, at first probably with* 
six, but afterwards with four minions ; making 46 guns as the 
temporary, and 42 as the permanent, establishment of the ship. 

When to the increased weight of the guns their carriages 
and shot is added the weight of wood and iron, consumed a« 
well in the barricade to the second gun-deck as in strengthening 
the ship in every part, we may well give credit to a writer of 
1665, who, in complaining that ships of the British navy are 

i See thia explained at p. 7. * See Gharaock, voL ii., p. 18. 

s See Appendix, No. 1. 

Jl<>67.] frigate-cLasses. 27 

^* over gunned," instances, among others, " the Constanir War- 
wick, from 26 gunns and an incomparable sayler, to 46 gnnns 
and a slngg.'*^ The worst is, that the Constant- Warwick, 
although thus changed in her form and qualifications, although* 
irom an "incomparable sayler," converted to a "slugg," was 
allowed to retain her original appellation. So that, according to 
the loose accounts handed down to us, ^* the first frigate built in 
England " was an over-gunned, top-heavy, two-decker, instead 
of, as a little investigation now proves her to have been, a 
properly armed, snug one-decker. 

There was, however, one part of the Constant-Warwick's 
peculiarity of construction that could not be altered, without a 
complete rebuild from the keel upwards : it was the sharpness 
of her lower body, or, as the naval draughtsman would call it, 
the fineness of her lines. This sharpness of form appears to 
have been the only characteristic of the frigate which the 
English builders thought worthy to be retained. It seemed to 
them a most convenient property, that suited all sizes and 
classes of ships ; and, accordingly, between the years 1646 and 
1653, upwards of 60 " frigates " were built, or building. One, 
among the latter, was to carry ** from 50 to 80 gims.'* The re- 
mainder were variously classed, from '66 down to 12 guns ; and 
the first was the only rate, from which they appear to have been 

One natural effect of this extraordinary degree of sharpness, 
when applied to an overloaded ship carrying 60 or 70 guns, was 
so to increase the immersion of the vessel, that her lower battery 
approached too near to the water to be useful. This 'evil we 
shall explain in the words of Mr. Pepys. " In 1663 and 1664,*' 
says he, " the Dutch and French built ships with two decks, 
which carried from 60 to 70 guns, and so contrived that they 
carried their lower guns four feet from the water, and to stow 
four months' provisions; whereas, our frigates, from the Dun- 
kirk-bnilt, which were narrower and sharper, carried their guns 
but little more than three feet from the water, and but ten 
weeks' provisions."^ Mr. Pepys then states, that five frigates 
(three of 70, one of 66, and one of 64 guns, according to the list 
of 1677^) were ordered to be built of such dimensions as to" 
obviate those defects. In eight or ten years afterwards, we find 
Mr. Pepys still complaining of this want of buoyancy in the 

1 " OitMon's Observa^ons on Military • Derrick, p. 84. 

Management," as copied into Chamock's > See Appendix, Ko. 1. 

lecoDa volnme. 

28 INTRODUCTION. [1667, 

Britiflh frigates ; as appears by another of his statements, already 
quoted to illustrate a point in our inquiries.^ 

Thus had the " first frigate," in less than 20 years, spread her 
name, if not her qualifications, over nearly lie whole of the 
British navy. From the time, however, that the first and 
83Cond-rates excluded all two-decked ships, as was certainly the 
case at the date of the abstract of 1677,^ and may have been the 
case a year or two earlier, the frigate-classes were confined to 
the third and the three inferior rates. When, too, at the close 
of the seventeenth century, the classes within the first four rates 
assumed the name of line-of-battle ships,^ the frigate became 
further restricted to the fifth and sixth rates ; which, as the fifth- 
rate, by the new regulation, was confined to classes below the 
50-gun ship, afforded but a very limited range. So that, by the 
year 1727, as already shown, the frigate-classes were reduced to 
three, the 40, the 30, and the 20 gun ship. 

Our next object is to show, to a certain extent, what classes 
have emanated from these three ; but as some foreign, parti- 
cularly French, frigate-classes may occasionally come before us, 
it may render the subject more intelligible, if we here introduce 
a few general remarks on the system of classification adopted in 
the principal foreign navies. 

It is difficult to say, whether the English or the French were 
the first to divide their navy into rates. We can only state, that 
in the year 1670, the French navy appears to have consisted of 
five nmgs^ or rates, each composed of several ordres, or classes ; 
and that their first-class first-rates mounted 120 guns, and mea- 
sured 1500 tons French ; which, allowing for the difference both 
of weight and of casting the tonnage in the two countries, may 
be about equal to 1800 tons English. As a substitute for their 
sixth-rate, they had a class which they called fregates legeresj or 
little frigates. Probably the name, without an adjunct, was 
applied to some ships of the fifth-rate, whose exterior form and 
manner of carrying their guns may have justified the appeUar 
tion. Next to fregates 16geres were fire-ships ; then barca- 
longas, and pinks. Of the composition of the Spanish navy, in 
these early times, we can say nothing : we can only remark upon 
their ships, as they appeared at sea, or in English ports. 

The Dutch seem to have divided their navy into six (some 
accounts say, seven) rates. Their heaviest ships, of which there 
were but a few, are represented to have mounted 92 or 94 guns, 
of which a portion were probably swivels. The shallowness of 

1 See p. 16. » See p. 8. « See p. 21, 


their waters cramx)ed the Hollanders in the dimensions of their 
ships, and compelled them to adopt, in their larger vessels 
e8X)ecially, a flatter floor and blufifer contour than characterized 
the vessels of other nations, of their sonthem neighbours in par- 

The great fault attributed to British men-of-war, at the latter 
part of the seventeenth, and early part of the eighteenth century, 
was their insufficient size, in reference to the guns they were 
forced to carry. Hence, their lower batteries could seldom be 
used in blowing weather ; and they sailed and worked heavily. 
But even this had its advantages ; for the British generally re- 
captured their ships, whenever they formed part of an enemy's 
chased fleet : and it is remarkable that, of the Comte de Forbin's 
fleet, which, in 1708, attempted a descent on Scotland, the only 
ships which perished in the gale that happened were such as 
had been taken from the English. 

The foreign builders appear to have allowed a greater width 
* to the portholes, and to the spaces between them. This, in a 
given number of portholes and spaces, necessarily added to the 
length of the vessel ; and as that increased length required a 
proportionate breadth, a general increase of bulk, and thence of 
tonnage, became the consequence. The ship was thus rendered 
more buoyant, and her lower battery stood higher from the 
wsAer ; advantages which were sensibly felt by the British, in 
almost every encounter attended by a rough sea, or a wind 
fresher than common. In the form of the lower body of their 
ships, the French greatly surpassed the English ; but, in point 
of materials and workmanship, the advantage was, and perhaps 
is to this day, on the side of the latter. To the British, how- 
ever, is certainly due the merit of having been the first to intro- 
duce the curved form to that part of the stem against which 
the sea beats : on the other hand, they were among the last 
to abandon the immoderate contraction of the upper decks of 
their ships, and the consequent low position of their chain- 

The Spaniards appear to have taken the lead, even of the 
French, in the proportion between the size and the numerical 
force of their ships. As a sense of pride had induced Spain to 
build her ships higher, a sense of safety had impelled her to 
build them broader, than those of any other nation. When, 
therefore, the example of other states permitted her to ease her 
ships of a part of their cumbrous superstructure, Spain continued, 
for a while at least, to give them their former breadth. They 




undoubtedly possessed the advantages of greater stability, and 
of sides less penetrable by an enemy's shot. If the increased 
thickness of the sides added to the intrinsic weight of the ship, 
a counterbalancing property was found in the superior buoyancy 
derived from her increased width. One example will suffice 
to show the difference that prevailed between the builders of 
Spain and of England. The following are the dimensions of a 
Spanish and an English ship, of the same class or denominar 
tion; the one built, the other captured, in 1740 : — 

Princessa. . 70 
Bedford. . . ,, 

Length of 
First J>eck. 

Ft. lu. 
165 1 
150 lOi 




Depth of 

Ft. In. 
22 3 
17 10 



We may now resume our inquiries relative to the various 
frigate-classes that followed the three of 1727.^ Two new 
classes were added in 1740: the, one a 44-gun ship, averaging 
about 710 tons, and established with 40 guns on her two decks, 
similar to No. 7 in the short abstract at p. 11 but with 18 and 
9, instead of 12 and 6 pounders ; also with four 6-pounders on 
the quarter-deck. The other class was a 24-gun ship, averaging 
about 440 tons, and established with two 9-pound ers only on 
the first deck, and twenty of the same caliber on the second deck, 
with two 3-pounders on the quarter-deck. Before nine yeai's 
had elapsed, 38 individuals of the 44-gun class, several of them 
of increased dimensions, had been built, and such of the old 
40s as could bear them, had been allowed four sixes for their 
quarter-decks ; which made them also 44-gun ships, although of 
a weaker description. The remaining 40s were few in number ; 
and, by the year 1755, the class became extinct. In 1748 a 
28-gun ship was added, measuring about 585 tons, and con- 
structed to carry twenty-four 9-pounders on the main-deck, and 
four 3-pounders on th'e quartei>deck. This was a decided im- 
provement on the 24, as well as on the old 30 gun class : more- 
over, the 28 is the first ship that, in the arrangement of her 
guns, conveys any idea of the modem frigate. 

In the year 1757 the following five frigates of the 28-gun class 
were built of fir instead of oak, as had hitherto been the general 
practice : — 

1 See p. 28. 


Tods. Year, 

Actaeon 685, sold as unserviceable .1766 

Boreas 587. ditto ditto . . . 1770 

Hussar t . • • , . 586, captured by the French I7u2 

Shannon 587, taken to pieces . . . 1765 

Trent 587, sold as unserviceable . 1764 

So that the four of these fir-built ships, not cut oflf by capture, 
lasted, ux>on an average, nine years. 

In the year 1757, also, were added two classes, of no mean 
importance ; one a 32, the other a 36 gun ship. The first of 
these merits a particular accounts On the 29th of March, 1756, 
the Navy Board agreed with Mr. Kobert Inwood, of Kotherhithe, 
at the rate of 9Z. 17s. per ton, to build a fifth-rate ship, accord^ 
ing to a draught proposed by Sir Thomas Slade, one of the sur- 
veyors of the navy. The ship was to measure 671 tons, and to 
mount twenty-six 12-pounders on the main-deck, four 6-pounders 
on the quarter-deck, and two 6-pounders on the forecastle. She 
began building in the succeeding April ; and, after being named 
the Southampton, was launched on the 5th of May, 1757. 
Another ship from the same draught, named the Diana, and 
built by Messrs. Batsons, on the Thames, was launched in 
August of the same year : she was sold out of the service in 

The Southampton may be considered as the first genuine 
frigate built in England ; that is, as the first ^English ship, con* 
stmcted to carry her guns on a single whole deck, a quarter- 
deck, and a forecastle, the characteristic, in the opinion of all 
the maritime nations, of the proper frigate. A naval writer of 
France, M. Lescallier, thus describes the frigate: *'Fregate; 
navire de guerre, gr^e de m§me que les vaisseaux de ligne, qui 
leurs ressemble en tons dans ses manoeuvres, et qui ne differe 
d'eux qu'en pe qu*il est plus petit, et quHl rCa qu'une hattei^ie de 
long en long, Les frigates ont le plus souvent depuis vingt-six 
jusqu'k quarante canons, dont les calibres sont de 12 ou de 18, 
pour ceux en batterie, et du 6 ou du 8 sur les gaillards."* The 
frigates of the celebrated Chapman are all of the same form ; 
and, indeed, no modem naval architect recommends any other. 
The Southampton always bore the character of a good searboat 
and a prime sailer, and reigned as such for 56 years ; when a 
reef of rocks in the Crooked Island passage put a stop to her 
career. The 36-gun frigate carried the same number and nature 
of guns on. the main-deck as the 32, with four additional 
O-pounders on the quarter-deck. The class, which consisted but 

1 Yocabulaire dee Texmes de Marine. 

32 DTTRODUCTION. [1756. 

of three indiyidnalS) averaged about 720 tons. The first launched 
was the Pallas. She was ordered in July^ 1756, and launched 
Angust 30, 1757. The two others were the Brilliant and Yotitis. 

We may notice, in passing, that it was upon one of the 32 -gun 
class of frigates, the Alarm, that, in November, 1761, copper 
sheathing was first employed in the British navy. Like most 
other innovations, this seems to have had a weight of prejudice 
to remove. It was not until April, 1764, that a second ship, the 
Bolphin, of 24 guns, underwent the same operation. In nine 
months afterwards the Jason, of 32 gnns, was coppered ; a^d in 
March, 1776, the new ship. Daphne, of 20 gnns. In that year 
four ships were coppered ; in 1777, 10 or 12 ; and, before the 
termination of hostilities in 1783, ihere was scarcely a ship in 
the British navy that had not received the benefit of this highly- 
important invention. In November, 1783, after various vain 
attempts to counteract the effects of the copper sheathing upon 
the iron bolts, and in consequence of the success of several ex- 
periments made with 44-gmi ships, and others of the smaller 
classes, it was ordered that copper bolts should in future be used, 
under the load-draught of water, in all the ships of the navy. 

In the same year in which the above new classes, the 32 and 
36 gun frigate, made their appearance, the British captured a 
French ship, the Bon-Acquis, of 946 tons, mounting eight 
18-pounders on the first deck, twenty-eight 12-pounders on the 
second deck, and two 6-poTmders on the forecastle; total, 38 
guns. In 1758 the British also captured the French 36-gun 
frigate M^lampe, of 747 tons, and armed the same as the 36-gun 
class, already described ; and, in the following year, the South- 
ampton, assisted by the M^lampe, captured the French 36-gun 
frigate Dana^, of 941 tons, mounting twenty- eight 12-pounders 
on her main-deck, six 6-pounders on her quarter-deck, and two 
6-pounders on her forecastle. Between 1759 and 1761 the 
British took three French 32-gun frigates, armed like the South- 
ampton, and averaging about 700 tons. It appears, therefore, 
that the English, if not beforehand with, were very little behind, 
the French, in the construction of that justly-celebrated class of 
ship, the modem one-decked, or proper frigate. 

In or about the year 1756 the British 50-gun ship, being 
found too weak to cope with any ship which the enemy usually 
admitted into his line of battle, was reduced to an under-line 
class. The ship, however, although armed much in the same 
way as the two-decked 44, was not considered as a frigate, but 
continued to be called, as formerly, 50-gun ship. 


In 1744 some newly-discovered virtues iii the Britisn 44-gun 
ship oansed 29 individuals to be added to a class, which would 
otberwise have been extinct in a third of the time. The ships, 
Hka Ae old ones, were complained of as crank, and as carrying 
their guns too near the water. Some attempts were made to 
render a few of the latter-built ships more stiff and buoyant ; 
but all would not do, and the greater number being deprived of 
their lower-deok guns and fitted with poops, were converted into 
store-ships. A few individuals remained to attend convoys; 
but, although a provoking durability, common to the class, con- 
tinued them for years in the service, they lost the appellation of 
frigates, and took that of the •* old two-decked 44-gun ship ;*' 
a name, the very mention of which raises a smile among modem 

In 1780 the 38-gun frigate appeared, for the first time, as a 
British-built class. Before 1782 five individuals were launched, 
averaging 946 tons. These were named, Arethusa, Latona, 
Minerva, Phaeton, and Thetis. The Minerva appears to have 
been the first afloat. She was built at Woolwich dockyard, and 
launched June 3, 1780. The ships had ports for mounting, and 
were ordered to carry twenty-eight 18-pounders on the main- 
deck. The first admiralty order for establishing them with 
guns is dated September 30, 1779. There the quarter-deck and 
forecastle armament stands at ten G-pounders, eight 18-pound 
carronades, and 14 swivels, and the complement of men at 270. 
On the 25th of the succeeding April 9-pounders were ordered 
in lieu of the sixes, and the complement was increased to 280 
men. Subsequently the two forecastle 9-pounders were ex- 
changed for twelves (afterwards again altered to nines), and the 
swivels ordered to be omitted. For these, carronades were sub- 
stituted, a new kind of sea-service ordnance, of which we shall 
presently give an account. In 1780, also, the old 36-gxm frigate 
was revived, but in an highly improved state, the average size of 
the ships being 880 tons, and the calibers of the guns changed 
from 12 aiid 6, to 18 and (first 6, then) 9 pounders. This in- 
crease of the main-deck calibers, from 12 to 18 pounders, was a 
very great improvement, and appears to have been adopted 
about the same time by the French ; from whom were captured, 
in 1782, two 40-gun frigates, the Aigle and Hdb^. The first 
measured 1003 tons, and mounted twenty-six, the second, 1063 
tons, and mounted twenty-eight 18-pounders on the main-deck, 
with each of them 8-pounders on the quarterrdeck and forecastle. 
The Spaniards, also, appear to have built, in 1781, one 40-gun 

VOL. I. D 

34 INTRODUCTION. [1781. 

18-pounder frigate, the Santa-Sabina. Of 12-pounder 348, they 
had built several, of very large dimeiiBions. The Santa-Mar- 
garita, for instance, captnred in 1779, measured 993 tons, and 
long proved herself a capital ship; and the Santa -Leocadia, 
captured in 1781, measured 962 tons. Indeed, such even still 
continued to be the difference of ideas in England and foreign 
countries, as to the due proportion to be observed between the 
size of the ship and the armament she was destined to carry, 
that all the French 12-pounder 32s, built since 1761, were about 
equal in tonnage to the British 18-pounder 388. 

Having already disencumbered the frigate ciasBes of the 
44:-gun ship, we must now step a little back to clear them of some 
minor classes, which, owing to their insignificant size and force, 
in comparison with the frigates we have just been describing, 
were not worthy of so high a rank. Between 1757 and 1760 
four ships were built, and four captured, by the British, averaging 
about 312 tons, and mounting from 14 to 18 guns on a single 
deck. In an abstract of 1760, and in another of 1762, these 
eight ships were classed by themselves as " frigates." Immedi- 
ately afterwards, however, they were stripped of that name, and 
placed among the sloops ; giving rise to a since well-known sub- 
class, the ship-rigged sloop. 

In the year 1775 a new 24-gun class commenced, averaging 
about 620 tons, and carrying twenty-two 9-pounders on the main- 
deck, with four 3-pounders (in 1780 exchanged for sixes) on the 
quarter-deck. In or about the year 1736 a 20-gun frigate-class 
was built, measuring about 430 tons, and mounting 9, instead of 
6 pounders. This was undoubtedly an improvement upon No. 9 
in the abstract of 1727 ; but, notwithstanding two successive 
proposals of increased dimensions (one of 1741, to measure 498, 
and the other of 1745, to measure 508 tons), no subsequent im- 
provement was made in the class. The great difference in size 
and force, between the 20 and the 28 gun frigate, occasioned the 
former, at what precise time is uncertain, to take the name of 
20-gun post ship ; signifying, that she was of the lowest class to 
which a post-captain could be appointed. Subsequently, •the 
24-gun frigate became also called a post- ship. 

The French adopted a somewhat similar plan ; when we ai-e 
unable to say, but probably about the year 1760. They called 
all their frigates, from 24 guns downwards, corvettes, a word 
derived from corvettare, to leap or bound. Lescallier, when 
treating on the frigate, says, " A vingt canons, ou au dessous, ce 
ne sent plus des frdgates : on les appele corvettes^ et leur calibre 


est ordinairement da 8 on en dessons." In another place lie says, 
" Corvette ; esp6ce de batiment fait ponr la guerre, de meme forme 
k pen*pres, et portant le mdme gr^ment qu'nne frdgate, k la 
reserve qn*il est plus petit. Les corvettes out depuis six jusqnii 
yingt canons."* Subsequently, the French applied the name to 
ships of 24 guns. In later times the French have constructed 
▼ery large flush correttes, and they certainly possess many 
adyantages. To mount all their guns in a single tier, their 
dimensions require to be increased ; and this enables them to 
carry heavier metal than ships of the same nominal force, that 
mount a part of their guns on a quarter-deck and forecastle. 

So that the term post-ship was applied to ships of 24, 22, and 
20 guns, and ship-sioop^ to ships of 18, 16, 14, and any less number 
of guns ; while the French term corvette comprehended both 
divisions of classes. The French named their armed brigs 
simply brigs (bricksy or hrigantinesy and commonly avisos), sur- 
prised, no doubt, that the British should apply the term sloop to 
any vessel, no matter how rigged or constructed, provided she 
was commanded by a master and commander. For instance, a 
74-gnn ship, if reduced in her armament, and a master and com- 
mander appointed to her, registers as a sloop ; that is, unless 
fitted for, and expressly classed as, a hospital, prison, or store 
ship. It should be observed that the French, notwithstanding 
they commonly call their own men-of-war brigs of the largest 
class, bricks or avisos, do not hesitate to apply the term corvette, 
(although, as it has just appeared, originally restricted to ship- 
rigged vessels, or vessels ** portant le mSme gr^ment qu'nne 
fregate **) to British brigs-of-war of the smallest class. To meet 
this, we shall designate all French brigs-of-war al)Ove an acknow- 
ledged gun-vessel so rigged, brig-coruettes. 

The proper frigate, therefore, is a ship that mounts 24 guns, 
at the least, on a single deck, besides other guns on a quarter- 
deck and forecastle. So long as this arrangement of the guns is 
adhered to, the denomination will, we conceive, apply to a ship 
of any force ; but, when once the waist becomes barricaded and 
filled with guns, the vessel is no longer a irigate, but a flush two- 
decked ship. It may here be observed, that the term flush cannot 
with propriety be applied to a frigate, because, according to 
the above definition, a frigate must have a quarter-deck and fore- 
castle. The term can only be used in reference to such real 
angle-decked vessels as are to be found among the post-ship and 

1 Vocabulaire des TermeB de Marine, 

36 INTRODUCTION. [1779. 

ship-sloop classes ; and this is the restriction to which we allnded 
at a former page.^ 

We may gather from what has been stated, that the express 
sion, one, two, or three decked ship is as vague in respect to the 
real number of battery-decks as it undoubtedly is in respect to 
the number of guns mounted on those decks ; and that, when 
the number of decks and of guns is ascertained, no accurate 
judgment can be formed of the ship's force until the nature of 
those guns be also communicated ; but, and a remarkable fact 
it is, let the number and nature of the guns once be known, and, 
owing to the long-established practice of mounting no guns of a 
dissimilar caliber on the same deck, the number of decks instantly 
presents itself ; as, from the necessity of placing the heavier guns 
nearest to the water, does the manner in which all the guns 
are distributed. 

So long as that species of ordnance, called gun by the Eng- 
lish, and canon by the French, continued in exclusive possession 
of the decks of a fighting-ship, no difference existed between the 
number of carriage-pieces she actually mounted and the number 
which stood as the sign of her class in the published lists. In 
process of time, however, the nominal, or rated, and the real 
force of a ship lost their synonymous signification ; and that in a 
manner and to an extent too important in every point of view 
to be slightly passed over. 

In the early part of 1779 a piece of carriage-ordnance, the in- 
vention, by all accounts, of the late scientific General Bobert 
Melville, was cast, for the first time, at the iron-works of the 
Carron Company, situated on the banks of the river Carron, in 
Scotland. Although shorter than the navy 4-pounder, and 
lighter by a trifle than the navy 12-pounder, this gun equalled 
in its cylinder the 8-inch howitzer. Its destructive effects, when 
tried against timber, induced its ingenious inventor to give ife the 
name of smasher. 

As the smasher was calculated chiefly, if not wholly, for a 
ship-gun, the Carron Company made early application to have it 
employed in the British navy, but, owing to some not well ex- 
plained cause, were unsuccessful. Upon the supposition that the 
size and weight of the smasher, particularly of its shot, would 
operate against its general employment as a sea-service gun, the 
proprietors of the foundry ordered the casting of several smaller 
pieces, corresponding in their calibers with the 24, 18, and 12 


I See p. 21. 


pounder guns in use ; or rather, being of a trifle less bore, on 
aeconnt of the reduced windage very judiciously adopted in car- 
ronades, and which might be extended to long guns with con- 
riderable advantage. These new pieces became readily disposed 
of among the captains and others, employed in fitting out 
private armed ships to cruise against America, and were intro- 
duced, about the same time, on board a few of the frigates and 
smaller vessels belonging to the royal navy. 

The new gun had now taken the name of Carronade, and its 
several varieties became distinguished, like those of the old gun, 
by the weight of their respective shot. This occasioned the 
smasher to be called, irrevocably, a 68-pounder: whereas, re- 
peated experiments had shown, that a hollow, or cored shot, 
weighing 50, or even 40 lbs., would range farther in the first 
graze^ or that at which the shot first strikes the surface of the 
water, and the only range worth attending to in naval gunnery. 
The hollow shot would, also, owing to its diminished velocity in * 
passing through a ship's side, and the consequent enlargement 
of the hole and increased splintering of the timbers, produce 
more destructive effects than the shot in its solid form ; one of 
the principal objections against which was, and still continues 
to be, its being so cumbrous to handle. 

Before half the expiration of the year in which the first car- 
ronade had been cast, a scale was drawn up by the Navy Board, 
and sanctioned by the Lords of the Admiralty, for arming the 
different rates in the service with the 18 and 12 pounder calibers. 
In consequence of the first, second, and third rate ships having^ 
their quarter-decks as fully supplied with guns as there was 
room for ports on each side, no additional pieces could be placed 
there; l>ut it was found that the forecastle would generally 
admit the opening of a pair of extra ports, and that the poop, 
which for nearly a century past had served chiefly as a roof to 
the captain's cabin, would, if timbered up on each side, afford 
space for three pairs of ports ; making, in the whole, eight 
additional ports for the reception of carronades. The 50-gun 
ship was found to have room for a pair of additional ports on 
her quai|ter-deck, besides a pair on her forecastle, and three pairs 
on her poop, when the latter was barricaded ; making altogether 
10 ports. The 44-gun ship had no poop, and no armament on 
the quarter-deck •} by famishing the latter with a barricade, and 
cutting through it four pairs of ports, besides an extra pair on the 

I This refers to the latest establishment, and the remaining two removM entirely 
m that of 1762, wherein two of th^ quarter- to admit two additional 9-poand«r» ob the 
dedc sizes are shifted to the forecastle, main-dedc. 




forecastle, this ship might mount the same additional number of 
pieces as the 50. The three remaining classes of the fifth, and 
the first two classes of the sixth rate, would also admit of addi- 
tional ports being cut through the sides of their forecastles and 
quarterdecks. The third class of the sixth-rate, and the quarter- 
decked ship-sloop class, being, in respect to their quarteivdecks 
and forecastles, in a similar state to the 44, would require to be 
similarly built up, before they could mount the eight carronades 
assigned to them.^ 

Several captains complained of the carronade ; some of its 
upsetting after being heated by successive discharges; others, 
that, owing to its shortness, its fire scarcely passed clear of the 
ship's side, and that its range was too confined to be useful. 
The captains of some of the 32-gun frigates, in particular, repre- 
sented that one pair of their quarter-deck carronades was samuch 
in the way of the rigging, as to endanger the laniards of the 
* shrouds, and begged to have their established number reduced 
from six to four. As the principal objection to carronades 
appeared to have arisen from defects in the manner of mounting 
them, some additional instructions on that head were prepared 
and forwarded by Mr. Gascoigne, the chief proprietor of the 
Carron foundry. Some alterations were also made in the piece 
ij»elf.2 Still the Board of Ordnance, in repeated conferences 
with the Navy Board, maintained the superiority of the old gun, 
resting their arguments chiefly on the comparative length of 

1 The following is a copy of the document in question, with an additional column, 
showing to what amount the total of the carriage-guns of the different classes became 

Scale for Arming the different Rates in the British Navy with Carronades, as dravm up 
by Order of the Board of AdmiraZty, Jtdy 13, 1779. 








Number of 








First . . 










Second . 


90 or 98 „ 







100 or 108 

Third . . 



* m 



















44 „ 







Fifth . . 















m m 



Sixth . . 



24 ,. 








20 ,, 





w m 

m m 


Sloops . , 


18, 16, and 14 







i 26, 24. 
1 and 22. 

* One appears to have been, the adding of two calibers to its length. 


its range ; while the Navy Board urged, that a yeBsel, able to 
cany 4:-poTinders of the common construction might, with equal 
ease, bear 18-pounders of the new ; that the latter gun was 
worked with fewer men ; that its shot was far more formidable 
and deBtructive ; and that its range was quite sufficient for the 
purpose required. The commissioners adduced, as one instance, 
the case of the Flora frigate, whose boatswain, assisted only by 
a boy, made a surprising namber of discharges from a forecastle 
18-pounder, and caused great havoc and destruction on board 
the French frigate Nymphe, ultimately their prize. 

Let us be permitted to remark that, with one single unim- 
portant exception, the action between the British 36-gun frigate 
Flora and the French 32-gun frigate Nymphe is the first in 
which the mounted force of the combatants, as compared to- 
gether in all the British accounts, was misstated ; and that simply 
because it is, with the exception above alluded to, the first action 
in which a British ship-of-war mounting carronades was en- 
gaged. It was a long contest, and a sanguinary one, on the 
part of the Nymphe at least. Out of her complement of 291, 
the latter lost 136 ; the Flora, whose number of men on board 
was 259, but 36, in killed and wounded. 

Captain William Peere Williams, having, in his official letter, 
stated that the Nymphe ** mounted 32 guns, but was pierced for 
40/' says, in a postscript, " The Flora mounted 36 guns," and, 
he might have added, ** was pierced for 44." According to the 
establishment of 1779, the Flora was entitled to mount four 
18-pounder carronades on her quarter-deck and four on her fore- 
castle, making her total of carriage-guns 44. That she did 
mount, and successfully use, one of a pair, at least, of carronades 
on her forecastle, appears by the Navy Board's report ; and that 
she also mounted four carronades on her quarter-deck, we 
shall estabh'sh by a document which we shall presently lay before 
the reader. Hence the Flora mounted, not " 36 guns,*' but 
42, at the least. The French accounts say 44 ; thus : " La 10 
Aout, la fregate Fran^aise la Nymphe, de 32 canons, fut prise, 
aprds un combat opini&tre, par la fregate la Flore, de 44 
canons."* The following may be stated as the real mounted 
force of the two ships : — flora. nymphe. 

No. Pdra. 

Blain-deck 26 long 18 

Qaarter-deck and forecastle . . 10 „ 9 

6 carr. 18 

CarriBge-gaDS 42 

No. Pdrs. Pr. 

26 long 12 

C „ 6 


1 Abr^gtf Cbron. de THiat de la afarine Fraiifalae, 1804, p. 190. 

40 INTRODUCnON. [1781. 

Although pierced for, and mounting, the most guns, the 
Flora was the shorter vessel by six feet. 

According to an official h'st, dated on the 9th of January, 
1781,^ there were then 429 ships in the navy mounting car- 
ronades ; among which the 32-pounder carronade appears, and 
was the first of that caliber which had been used. The total of 
the carronades employed were 604 ; namely, eight 32-pounder8, 
four 24-pounders, three hundred and six 18-pounders, and two 
hundred and eighty-six 12-pounder8. In December of this year 
a recommendation to use 68-pounder carronades on the fore- 
castle of large ships, and 42 and 32 pounders on the same deck 
of some of the smaller rates, induced the Navy Board to order 
the old Rainbow 44 to be fitted, by way of experiment, wholly 
with carronades of the largest description. Sir John Dalrymple 
proposed the casting of some that should carry a ball of 100 
or 130 lbs. weight ; but the Board resolved to confine themselves 
to the heaviest of the pieces already cast, the 68-pounder. 

The necessary carronades were ordered from the foundry, and 
some of the foremen belonging to the works attended, to see 
them properly fitted : it was not, however, until February or 
March, 1782, that the Eainbow could be completed in her 
equipment. What additional force she acquired by this change 
in her armament, the following table will snow •• 


t " . Old Abm auent. New Abkahekt. 

^ ' ■ ■■^' ' » 

T-__ri„__ Broadside i r«— ««-^«- Broadside 

Long Guns, weight of Metal. Carronades. weight of Metal. 

First deck ... 20 IS-pdrs. 
Second deck . . 22 12 

Quarter-deck t • 

Forecastle ... 2 6 


318 lbs. 

20 68-pdrs. 

22 42 

4 32 

2 32 


1238 lbs. 

In the begioning of April the Eainbow, thus armed, and com- 
manded by Captain (now Admiral Sir) Henry TroUope, who, 
with Captain Keith Elphinstone (the late Admiral Lord Keith), 
and the late Eear-admiral Macbride, were among the earliest 
patrons of the carronade, sailed on a cruise. All the well-known 
skill and enterprise of her captain failed, however, to bring him 
within gun-shot of a foe worth contending with, until the 4th of 
the succeeding September; when, being oflf Isle de Bas, he 
came suddenly upon a large French frigate. Owing to the 
latter*s peculiar bearing, one of the Bainbow's forecastle 32- 

1 See Appendix* No. 3. 


pounders was first discharged at her. Several of the shot fell 
on boardy and discovered their size. The French captain, 
rationally conohiding that, if snch large shot came from the 
forecastle of the enemy's ship, mnch larger ones would follow 
from her lower batteries, fired his broadside " pour Thonnear de 
pavilion," and surrendered to the Bainbow. Although the 
capture of the H^b^ had aflforded no opportunity of trying the 
experiment contemplated by the Navy Board, and so ardently 
looked forward to by the officers and crew of the Eainbow, yet 
did the prize, in the end, prove a most valuable acquisition to 
the service, there being very few British frigates, even of the 
present day, which, in size and exterior form, are not copied 
from the H^. She measured 1063 tons, and motmted 40 
guns, twenty-eight 18, and twelve 8-pounders. 

In the course of 1782 a few of the larger sorts of the car- 
ronade were mounted on board some of the receiving-ships, in 
order that the seamen of such vessels as were in port refitting 
might be exercised at handling and firing this, to them, novel 
piece of ordnance. As one proof of many, that carronades were 
gaining ground in the navy, the captains of the few 38 and 36 
gun frigates in commission applied for and obtained 24:-pounder 
carronades, in lieu of the 18s with which their ships had been 
established. The termination of the war in January, 1783, put 
a stop to any further experiments with the carronade ; but its 
merits were now too generally acknowledged to admit a doubt 
of its becoming a permanent favourite : in the British navy at 
least, where a short range is ever the chosen distance. The 
removal of the swivel-stocks invariably accompanied the cutting 
through of carronade portholes in the barricades of the quarter- 
deck and forecastle : and no one, aware of the difference in effect 
between a half and a 12-pound ball, could deny that the substi- 
tation of the latter was a surprising improvement in the art of 
attack and defence. 

The most extraordinary circumstance connected with the 
employment of carronades in the British navy, is that, with all 
their alleged advantages, they should never have been thought 
worthy to be ranked among the guns of the ship that carried 
them. Whether they equalled in caliber the heaviest of those 
guns, added to their number a full third, or to their power a full 
half (in the 14-gun sloop class, the additional eight carronades 
made the numbers as 22 to 14, and the broadside weight of 
metal, in pounds, as 96 to 42), still they remained as mere a 
blank in the ship's nominal, or rated force, as the muskets in 


42 INTRODUCTION. [1778. 

the arm-chest. On the other hand, the addition of a single pair 
of guns of the old constmction, to a 8hip*s armament, removed 
her at once to a higher class, and gave her* how novel or incon- 
venient soever, a new denomination. When, for instance, in 
1740, the Admiralty oMered that the old 40-gun frigate should 
mount four 6-pounders on her quarter-deck, she became thence- 
forth a 44 :^ when also, in 1778, eight additional 6-pounders 
were placed upon the quarter-decks of the larger 90-gun shipe, 
they were separated from their former companions, and promoted 
to a class by themselves, the 98. ^ "When, in 1780, the 
Canada 74 received two additional 18-pounder long guns for 
her second deck, she became registered as a 76, and until the 
capture of the Hoche (afterwards named the Donegal), in 1798, 
was the only individual so registered : but when, in August 1794, 
the Canada received two 68-pounder carronades for her fore- 
castle, she still remained as a 76. In 1780 the 50-gun ship 
Leander received on board two 6-pounder long guns, in ex- 
change for two 24-pounder carronades :^ what the latter, with 
their quadruple claim, had not interest to procure, was granted 
to the former unasked; and the Leander, for upwards of 30 
years, continued to be the only 52-gun ship in liie navy. In 
1781 the 74-gun ship Goliath received on board two 68-pounder 
carronades ; but, as they were not two 9-pounder " guns," she 
was not sent to keep company with the Canada. A dozen other 
instances might be adduced ; but these will sufSce. 

So long as the word gun retains its signification, of a military 
engine which " forcibly discharges a ball, or other hard sub- 
stance, by means of inflamed gunpowder," so long must a car- 
ronade be considered as a gun. Yet the distinction has usually 
been ** guns and carronades ;*' in which sense, certainly, no ship 
in the British navy appears to have mounted more guns than 
were assigned to her by her rate. But why, when, at a subse- 
quent day, the eight or ten " guns " upon the quarter-decks of 
ships became exchanged for carronades, was not the number of 
guns, as marked down in the list to denote the ship's class, 
reduced accordingly ? What became of the gun classification, 
when some of the most numerous classes in the navy mounted 
all carronades, except for bow-chasers ? 

Among the excuses which may perhaps be offered for these 
seeming inconsistencies, are, that the classification of the ships 
was intended only as a guide for those who had the civil affairs 

I See p. 30, 'See tlie Leander*! n<)me In the list. 

» Derrick, p. 1Y8. Appendix. No. 3. 


of the navy to manage ; that the employment of carronades, 
although ordered generally, was, as respected the actnal use of 
them, too partial and fluctuating, during several years at least, 
to warrant the subversion of the old, or become the basis of a 
new system ; that the addition of carronades to a ship's arma- 
ment did not add one man to her complement, nor affect, in the 
slightest degree, the length and diameter of her masts and yards, 
or the proportion of boatswain's and carpenter's stores served 
out to her: in short, that the old classification, as far as the 
Navy Board was concerned, fully answered the purpose required. 
If the carronade innovation produced confusion anywhere, it 
must have been in the ordnance department, where the propor- 
tion of gunner's stores served out to a ship depends on the 
number and nature of her guns ; and where, in truth, all the 
difficulties attendant upon the fitting of carronades, at their first 
employment, were sensibly felt. 

With respect to the employment of carronades on board the 
armed ships of foreign powers, it may be sufficient to state, that, 
as far as the prize-lists are to be relied upon, no captured ship 
mounted any during the war which ended in 1783. Admitting, 
however, that carronades had begun to be used in any one 
foreign navy, and that they had also begun to disorganize, or 
render obscure, the national classification of that navy, still the 
English would have no reason to complain ; inasmuch as, what- 
ever might be the registered force of any contending ship of the 
enemy's, her actual mounted force is that alone which would 
appear upon the English records. Not so with the enemy ; for 
he would at once discover that, how accurately soever his own 
guns stood enumerated, those of the ship he had fought with 
had been in part overlooked. He could, to be sure, and doubt- 
less would, inform his countrymen what was the real number of 
guns opposed to him.^ But, even then, one nation is left in the 
dark as to the true merits of the contest ; while the other, attri- 
buting the discrepancy in the accounts to design rather than to 
accident, finds its animosity heightened to a pitch of rancour, 
as afflicting to humanity as it is repugnant to honourable war- 
fare. So limited, however, had been the use, and, except in the 
Bainbow's case, so light the calibers of the carronade during 
the short- period tjiat intervened between its first employment in 
the British navy and the termination of hostilities with France, 
in 1783, that few if any of the published accounts require, on 
that account, to be recanvassed or disturbed. How the case 

1 See p. 39. 

44 INTBODUCTION. fl783. 

became altered in the sncceeding war will be discoyered, as the 
events of that war pass in order of detail. 

There is another point in the armament of ships, requiring at 
present to be briefly noticed. Few persons but must know, that 
the destmotion caused by discharges of cannon is, in a great 
degree, proportionate to the diameter and weight of the shot. 
Were it not for this, no ship's deck would be encumbered with 
guns, weighing each 56 hundredweight, when a tier that 
weighed one hundredweight each would answer as well. *' II 
est certain," says M. Duhamel, '' que ce sent toujours les gros 
canons qui sent les plus avantageux dans un combat, et ainsi il 
est pr^f^rable de mettre sur un yaisseau un petit numbre de gros 
canons qu'un plus grand nombre de petits.**^ Nor would the 
expense of fitting the Bainbow with 68-pounders have been in- 
curred when the same end could have been attained by arming 
her with 12-pounders. Carronades of the latter caliber were 
already in the arsenal at Woolwich, with their slides and car- 
riages, ready to be placed on board : while those of the former 
caliber had to be cast at the foundry in Scotland ; thence trans- 
mitted to Woolwich to be proved ; thence to the port at which 
the ship was fitting; and, when there, were to be (an arduous 
task it was) properly and securely mounted. A 3 and a 32 
pounder are equally guns ; but he that would match them, be- 
cause they are guns, might with the same propriety pit a man 
of three ^ against a man of six feet in height, simply because 
they are men. From this difficulty, attendant more or less upon 
all sea-fights, land-fights are wholly exempt. Every foot- 
soldier, in either army, enters the field with a musket on his 
shoulder ; every cavalry-man wields either a pike or a broadsword, 
and is mounted on an animal of the same species and comparative 
strength, and every piece of artillery employed is within a trifle 
of the same caliber. Fix the number of each army, and mark 
the nature of the ground ; and what more is generally required 
for coming to a conclusion on the relative strength of the com- 
batants ? 

On the other hand, compare the account of the opposed 
forces in the case of the Bainbow and Hebe, as extracted from 
the work of an English naval chronologist, with the true state of 
the case, as exhibited in a preceding page. ** On the 4th of 
September,'* says Schomberg, " Captain Trollope, in the Bain- 

1 Elemens de rArchitectore Navalei * The only man three feet high was 

~ If. Dohamel da Monceao, p. 17. John Hauptman, who was exhibited in 

London in 1%16.— Ed, 




bow, of 44 guns, fell in with, and captured off the isle of Bas, la 
Hc^be French frigate, of 40 guns, and 360 men, commanded by 
M. de Vigney, who was slightly wounded ; her second captain 
and four men were killed, and several wounded. The Bainbow 
had one man killed."^ Not pother word is there on the sub- 
ject. Who, then, with this account before him, but must 
censure Monsieur de Yigney for having submitted so tamely, as 
well as praise Captain Trollope for having conquered an enemy's 
ship so nearly his equal? Exhibit the nature, as well as 
number of the guns on each side, and an end is put to the de- 

llie several denominations, by which English guns in either 
service are identified with their respective calibers, are not 
applicable to foreign guns, every nation possessing, besides a 
scale of calibers, or natures, a standard of weights and measures, 
peculiar to itself. Until, therefore, the calibers, or poundere, of 
the several sea-service guna, in use by the different powers at 
war, can be reduced into English weight, it will be in vain to 
attempt any comparison between them. For instance, the gun 
Ttith which the French arm the lower decks of their line-of- 
battle ships, above a 64 (a class that, with them, has long since 
been extinct), they denominate a 36-pounder ; for the plain 
reason, that the shot suitable to its cylinder, and which shot 
measures in diameter 6*239 French inches and decimal parts, is 
assumed to weigh 36 French pounds. But the same shot 
measures 6*648 English inches and decimal parts, and weighs 
very little less than 39 English pounds. The following table, 
which has been drawn up with great care, is submitted as the 
only statement of the kind in print : — 










m m 
m m 








• m 















• m 





m m 







lbs. oz. 

39 114 

26 1\ 

19 134 

13 34 

8 134 

6 91 

lbs. oz. 

m m 
m m 

34 121 
26 24 
19 94 
13 1 

8 io4 
6 84 


m m 






lbs. oz. 
38 14 

m m 

25 144 
19 7 
12 154 
8 10 
6 74 

lbs. oz. 

m m 

36 8 

24 64 

18 4 

12 21 

8 14 

6 14 

lbs. oz. 
44 164 
39 64 
33 114 
28 H 
22 74 
16 131 
11 34 
7 74 
5 94 

lbs. OS. 

37 144 
32 74 
27 94 
21 104 
16 34 
10 134 
7 34 
6 64 

» Schomberg's Nav. Chron., vol. ii., p. 76. 

* This, as well as the rest, is founded 

on a calculation ; but practical experience 

has shown that French shots usually weigh 
an ounce or two more than is here assigned 
to them. It appears, indeed, that the 




Notliing can demonstrate the ntility of such a table more 
clearly than the material difference observable between some 
of the calibers: the Danish 36-ponnd shot, for instance, 
weighs nearly two pounds more than the Eussian 42 ; yet, 
nominally, the latter is the heavier by one-seventh. As it is 
for the gross, or broadside, and not for the individual calibers, 
that our calculations are chiefly wanted, that integral propor- 
tion, which comes nearest to the difference expressed in the 
table, will answer the purpose. Thus : 

Add to the 

Deduct from the 

Danish nominal weight, 5-48ths 
Dutch „ 1-1 1th 

French^ „ 1-1 2th 

Spanish „ l-72nd 

Swedish „ l-16th 

Russian ., 1-1 1th 

and it will produce the 
^ English weight.* 

There is frequently between two ships a disparity of size, as 
denoted by the tonnage, not easily reconcilable with the number 
of guns mounted by each. Numerous instances might be 
adduced, but a few will suffice. The Eainbow measured 831 
tons, and mounted 48 guns ; while the Heb^ measured 1063 
tons, and mounted but 40 guns. Again, the old Blenheim mea- 
sured 1827 tons, and mounted 98 guns; while the Triumph, 
built three years afterwards, measured 1825 tons, and mounted 
only 74 guns. In both pairs of cases, the disagreement of the 
force with the tonnage arises from the latter not being affected 
by the upper, or top-side constmction of the ship. Had tlie 
Eainbow been built, as to her battery-decks, in the same manner 
as the Hebd, she would have mounted but 28 guns ; and the 
Blenheim, at a subsequent day, had actually one of her decks 

French 36-pound shot weigh nearly 37 
pounds French. See "Voyages dans la 
Grand-Bretagne," par Charles l>upin, Force 
Navale, tome ii., p. 119. Admitting that 
the shots of the lesser French calibers are 
also exceeded in their real weights in the 
same proportion, the usual English weight 
assigned to the French shots, namely 40lb 
for the 36,28ft for the 24,20ft for the 18, 
14ft for the 12, and 9ft for the 8-pounder, 
are perhaps more correct than the weights 
specified in the above table. According 
to M. Dupin (Force Navale, tome ii., p. 
97) Uie following are the weights of 
English shut in French pounds and de- 


42 32 24 18 12 
38*92 29*632 22*24 16*68 11*12 


Another French writer says, " le boulet 
de 6 Anglaise pese un peu plus de cinq 
livres et demie, poids de marc." 

8 That highly useful little work, " The 
Bombardier, and Pocket Gunner," gives 
the Spaniards, instead of this gun, a 9- 
pounder, but in their own nomenclature 
it is invariably, as far as our discoveries 
have reached, an 8-pounder. 

1 According to the numbers in the table, 
it wants a 256tb part of being so ; but this 
difference may surely be passed over, if 
not for its insignificance, as some allow- 
ance for the more important difference 
mentioned in note * of the last page. 

* All fractional parts may be given up 
thus: 12684-12=105 and a fraction, but 
106 (without the fi*action)+ 1268= 1373. 


removed, and then, without suffering the slightest decrease in 
her tonnage, mounted the same number of guns as the Triumph. 
A difference in size, however, is frequently observable between 
ships, that agree both in the number of their guns and in the 
manner of carrying them. 

When it, is considered that, proportionable to the size of the 
gun and its carriage, must be the port to which it is fitted, the 
space between that and the next port, and, as a necessary con- 
sequence, the whole range and extent of the deck, an increase in 
the principal dimensions and tonnage of the ship follows of course. 
Hence, one class of ship mounts twenty-six 12-pounders upon a 
deck 126 feet in length ; another class mounts twenty-six 
18-pounders upon a deck 145 feet in length ; a third mounts 
twenty-six 24-pounders upon a deck 160 feet in length ; and the 
tonnage of the several classes, estimated, upon an average, at 
680, 1000, and 1370 tons, accords, very neaily, with the difference 
in the nature of the guns mounted by each. 

When, therefore, two fighting^ships, numerically equal in guns 
and decks, but differing greatly in tonnage, meet at sea, the in- 
ference is, that the larger ship mounts the heavier metal. More- 
over, as the more massive the gun and its carriage, the greater 
18 the strength required to work it ; so does the enlargement of 
the masts, yards, sails, rigging, anchors, and cables, require ad- 
ditional hands to manage and control them : hence, the larger 
ship is more numerously manned, and, on coming to close quar- 
ters, can present the most formidable show of boarders. Several 
other advantages attend the larger ship ; among which may be 
reckoned her less liability, owing to her increased stoutness, to 
suffer from an enemy's guns, and the greater precision with 
which, owing to her increased stability, she can point her own. 

The French and Spanish builders have certainly proceeded 
upon a more enlarged scale of dimensions than the builders of 
England ; and the ports of their ships are, therefore, both wider 
and farther apart than the ports of those English ships which 
mount the same, or nearly the same, nature of guns. This, 
besides conferring many of the advantages already noticed, 
affords a greater space between and behind the guns, and so 
raises their line of fire, that they can act without risk from a 
troubled sea ; an advantage, the want of which has often been 
felt by the old English two and three deckers. 

A comparison of that class in the two rival navies, out of 
which, from the number of its individuals, the line of battle is 
chiefly composed, will show the different ideas that prevailed in 




England and in France respecting the proportion that onght f o 
exist between the armament and the size of a ship. The follow- 
ing is the result of a careftd examination, and refers, in point of 
time, to the latter end of the year 1792, or just as the war with 
England was abont to commence. 


Proportion of 
Tcm. IndividnaU 

From 1565 to 1665 . . S-lOths 

Febkch 74. 

Proportion of 
Tons. Individuals 
N, to tlie Class. 
From 1680 to 1720 . . 1-lOth 

„ 1666 to 1720 . . IJ-lOth 

„ 1720 to 1810 . . 3-lOths 

„ 1799 to 1836 . . HOth 

„ 1860 to 1900 . . 6-lOths 

Moreover, the smallest British 74 carried 32-poiinders on the 
lower deck, while the smallest French 74, although upwards of 
100 tons larger, carried only 24s. It is true that a French 
24-pounder weighs a few pounds more than an English gun of the 
same nominal caliber ; but that overplus is amply con^nsated 
by the difference in size between the two ships. 

The gradual swell of the current of architectural improvement 
has, however, given increased size and buoyancy to the Englibh 
modem-built ships of every class; many of which equal in 
dimensions and form, and surpass in strength and finish, the 
ships of any other power on the globe.^ Still, those national 
navies, which, owing to frequent discomfitures, have been the 
oftenest renewed, are, in this respect, the most uniform ; while 
that single navy, which has remained for ages unimpaired by 
defeats, and which has usually added to itself what the others 
have lost, exhibits in many of its classes the utmost variety of 
size. Its reduced scale of complements, ever its well-known 
characteristic, is owing, partly to the contracted size of its ships, 
and partly to a principle of pure native growth, a reliance upon 
the physical, rather than upon the numerical, strength of its 

^ It is but Justice in regard to America, frigates now emploved in the firitisli 
to mention that England lias benefited by service are modelled after those of the 
her example, and that the large classes of United States.— Editor. 

( 49 ) 


On the 20th of April, 1792, that party in France, the self- 
constituted National Convention, in whose hands were the person 
of the king and the reins of the government, declared war 
against the Emperor of Austria, as King of Hungary and Bo- 
hemia. This was the first war (although from the situation of 
Austria not a naval one) in which France had heen engaged 
since the peace of Amiens. Maritime hostility, however, if such 
it can be called, soon broke out, the National Convention, on the 
16th of September, declaring war against the King of Sardinia. 
Ten days afterwards a French army entered the territory of 
Savoy, and a French squadron of nine sail of the line, com- 
manded by EeaivAdmiral Laurent-Jean-Fran9ois Truguet (a 
young officer just promoted to that rank by the republican 
minister of marine, Bertrand), and having on board a strong 
body of troops, took possession of Nice, Montalban, Yilla- 
Franca, and finally, after a destructive cannonade, and an as- 
sault by storm, with all its horrid military consequences, of the 
port of Oneglia. 

On the 1st of October, according to an official return, the 
navy of France amounted to 246 vessels ; of which 86, includ- 
ing 27 in commission, and 13 building and neai'ly ready, were 
of the line. The squadrons were designated according to the 
ports in which they had been built, or were laid up in ordinary ; 
and, of the above 86 line-of-battle ships, 39 were at Brest, 10 at 
Lorient (afterwards united in designation with those at Brest), 
13, including the only 64 in the French navy, at Rochefort, and 
24, including a strong reinforcement recently arrived from the 
Biscayan ports, at Toulon. Of frigates at the different ports, 
there were 78, 18 of them mounting 18-pounders on the main 

VOL. I. ^ 


deck, and none of them less than 12-poanders. Those, re- 
sembling in size and force the British 28-gun frigates, classed 
as 24-gun corvettes.^ 

On the 21st of of January, 1793, the French beheaded their 
king, Louis XYI. ; and on the 24th the French ambassador, 
M. Chauvelin, as being now the representative of a regicide 
'government, was ordered to quit England. A few weeks pre- 
vious to this, a strong spirit of hostility on the part of the new 
republic had manifested itself against that country. On the 2nd 
of January the British 16-gun brig-sloop Childers, Captain 
Eobert Barlow, was standing in towards Brest harbour, when 
one of the two batteries that guard the entrance, or goulet, and 
from which she was distant not more than three-quarters of a 
mile, fired a shot that passed over her. Captain Barlow, ima- 
gining that the national character of his vessel was doubted, 
hoisted the British ensign and pendant ; whereupon the fort that 
had fired ran up the French ensign, with a red pendant over it, 
and the signal was answered by the forts at the opposite side of 
the entrance. By this time the flood tide, for the want of wind 
to counteract its force, had driven the Childers still nearer to the 
two batteries ; both of which now opened a cross fire upon her. 
Fortunately a breeze soon sprang up, and Captain Barlow was 
enabled to make sail. Being a small object, the Childers was 
hit by only one shot, a French 48-pounder : it struck one of her 
guns, and then split into three pieces, but, providentially, did 
not injure a man. 

The pertinacious refasal of the King of England, and of the 
stadtholder, to partake of the revolutionary benefits which had 
been so liberally tendered them, provoked the National Con- 
vention, on the 1st of February, to declare war against Great 
Britain and the United Netherlands. The announcement of 
this important event reached London on the 4th, and occasioned 
the immediate issue of orders to detain all French vessels in 
British ports. The French possessed here a decided advantage. 
When they embargoed their ports, which they did, of course, on 
declaring war, upwards of 70 British vessels were lying there ; 
but now that a similar measure was adopted in the ports of 
England, not more than seven or eight French vessels could be 
found in them. On the 11th the King of England sent down to 
parliament a message on the subject of the declaration by 
France ; and on the same day directed, that general reprisals 
should be made on the vessels, goods, and subjects of the 

» See Appendix, No. 4. - -< -. — - 


French republic. Notwithstanding this, a French work, of 
some celebrity, accuses the English of having commenced the 
war. ''Quand le gouvemement britannique nous ddclara la 
guerre en 1793, son ambition, (fec.**^ 

The King of Spain having evinced, for the present at least, 
a similar disinclination to fraternize with democrats, was also 
doomed to feel the weight of republican wrath. War against 
Spain was formally declared on the 7th of March ; but letters 
of marque against that nation had, it appears, issued since the 
26th of the preceding month; and even previously to that, 
Spanish vessels had been both captured at sea and embargoed 
in port. The manifesto and coimter-declaration of the Catholic 
king issued on the 23rd of March ; and shortly afterwards Spain's 
neighbour, Portugal, declared herself a willing ally in the cause. 
The subsequent irruptions of the republican forces into the terri- 
tories of the King of the Two Sicilies made him also a party in. 
the war. With Austria, Prussia, and Sardinia, war had existed^ 
as already in part stated, for some time previous ta the declara- 
tion against England and the United Netherlands. 

We are now arrived at an epoch that calls for a more parti- 
cular account of the state of the British navy than we have 
hitherto deemed it necessary to give. It was this that suggested 
the formation of a series of annual abstracts, the first of the 
kind that have ever appeared in print ; and which, being the 
result of a careful investigation of official and other records, are 
submitted, with some degree of confidence, to the public atten- 
tion. The first abstract of the series shows not only the number 
of individuals, but the aggregate tonnage and established force 
in guns and men, of every class of ship belonging to the British 
navy at the commencement of the year 1793.^ It also contain^ 
many other particulars, that will be found useful in drawiug 
comparisons, as well between the British navy and the navy of 
any foreign power, as between the former itself at dilfferent 
periods. Were the **tons" not introduced, that acknowledged 
sign of improvement, the increasing size of the ships of any 
particular class would not discover itself; and we should be 
likely to form a very erroneous estimate of the comparative 
strength of the British navy at any two periods at which its 
numbers were summed up. The tonnages, it may be observed, 
are precisely those inserted in the official register ; and, being 

1 Diet. Hist, des Batailles, par ime * See Appendix, Annual Abstract, No. I. 

Sod^te de Militaires et de Marins ; k Paris, ' 

1818. tome ii., p. 56. 


all the product of <me mode of casting, afford a tolerably fair 
criterion of the relative size of the ships. 

The propriety of placing ^^ croisers " in a separate, and that the 
most conspicnons, compartment of the table will le evident, 
when it is ciMisidered, that they constiinte the sole aggressing 
force of a nayy. Of the " stationary harbonr ships/' some are 
osefally employed; bat the generality hare no existence as 
fighting-ships, and onght, strictly speaking, to have their names 
expnnged from the published lists of the navy. So far, however, 
fccm sanctioning any curtailment, the monthly lists insert the 
name of every nnseaworthy ship, as well as of every transport, 
yacht, and sheer-hnlk. It doe* certainly seem very absnrd, to 
consider a vessel, constmcted solely for pleasurable purposes, as 
a ship of war ; yet Steel ranks the large yachts with 20-gan 
post-ships, and that simply because the command of them de- 
volves upon post-captains. Tn the ofiBcial register their station, 
when in ordinary, is neariy at the bottom of the list ; but, when 
in commission, they are removed to the rate, according to which 
the captain and officers receive their pay. The yachts, large 
and emaHj rank in the Abstracts with the hulks, hoys, and other 
excluded vessels. Every ship building, although her keel may 
not have been laid, or a single timber of her frame cut out, is also 
included in the published lists. One instance may suffice. In 
January, 1796, a 120-gun ship, to be named the Caledonia (in 
lieu of a ship of 100 guns, ordered in November, 1794,) was 
directed to be built, and appeared in Steel a few months after- 
wards ; but the ship was not laid down until January, 1805, nor 
launched until June, 1808. After all this, as it may well be 
called, paper-force has been added, the total at the foot of such 
periodical list is taken to denote, in an unrestricted sense, the 
numerical strength of the British navy. 

On the other hand, as no foreign power publishes any regular 
list of her navy, the British have generally to glean their infor- 
mation from multifarious sources ; such as, among others, the 
hasty and imperfect views of reconnoitring officers, the obscure 
and often contradictory statements of prisoners, and the loose 
paragraphs, and, not unfrequently, studied misrepresentations, 
of the enemy's journals. And, after all, the sum-total of these 
driblets can have but a partial reference ; not covering, as it 
should do, the swarm of brigs, schooners, and armed small-craft, 
whose depredations on British commerce are, nevertheless, too 
important to be slighted. Hence, the numbers usually brought 
forward, as objects of comparison between the British and 


French navies, are wholly inadequate to the purpose, the one 
being greatly excessive, the other, to about an equal extent, 

An expected rupture with Spain, respecting NootkarSound, in 
1790, and with Eussia, respecting Turkey, in the following year, 
had occasioned so unexampled an activity in the English dock* 
yards, that, by the end of 1792, upwards of 60 of the 87 line-of- 
battle cruisers in the Abstract were in good condition. The 
excellent plan, which, at the recommendation of Sir Charles 
Middleton (afterwards Lord Barham), then comptroller of the 
navy, had been adopted since 1783, of setting apart for every 
sea-going ship a large proportion of the material articles of hep 
furniture and stores, as well as of stocking the magazines at the 
several dockyards with every description of unperishable stores, 
displayed itself in the extraordinary despatch with which the 
ships at the different ports were equipped for searservice : so 
that in a very few weeks after the order for arming had issue()^ 
the commissioned cruisers of Jthe line became augmented from 
26 to 54, and the total of the commissioned cruisers from 136 to 
upwards of 200. 

The number of commissioned officers and masters belonging 
to the Bntish navy at the commencement of the year was, 

Admirals . ' . . . 17 

Vice-admirals . . . 19 

Kear-admirak ... 19 

„ superannuated 15 

Post-captains . . . 446 

,, superannuated 20 

Commanders, or sloop-captains 163 

Lieutenants. .... 1417 

„ supei'annuated 29 

Masters .... 297 

and the number of seamen and marines, including officers of all 
ranks, voted by parliament for the service of the current year, 
was 45,000.1 

To the uninitiated public, a momenclature, in which " com- 
mander," i, e, he that commands, stands as a subordinate rank 
to " captain," must appear, to say the least of it, very extra- 
ordinary. The former rank was originally styled " master and 
commander;*' probably to distinguish the merchant-master^ 
hired to command a small ship of war, from the captain regularly 
brought up in the navy. In process of time, having a reference 

1 See Appendix, No. 5. 

M waism isd fzcpoi runs. [1793. 

U fkt MNul ikm fLt wemt of «ke terv. the fint two 
WMdiwcselopixdoCflid iiimmii¥i" \mt\im botk a generic 
t«fv, ligBifyi^^ wlio«Ter iM«KBMd Ae ccBBMBd of a d^ 
(beMe, we i r€ q t: 1lj lee, "^ops aid thdr coanBdenw" en- 
d^WKii iqMMi books and ngiiil iccodiX sb^ * fpecifie tenn, 
denoCn^^ tiiat nak next In mbovfinatian to a post-captain, or 
rntber captain, as the lank ia now iMire cohbmbIj caDed. The 
Americans ose a term not fnite so mm^A^Mfm as master and 
eommander: thej call their captains of fte second order ^mas- 
tenkcommandanty" irinch means "masters-commanding;* and 
that, in manj instances, is really tiie case, most of their present 
captains and commodores haring or^inaDj been masters in the 
mercliaai-saTice. There is, howerer, a real distinction in naval 
language betweoi a ** captain ** and a ^ commando- ;" inasmuch 
as the latter, besides receiving less paj, may remain a commander 
for a centory if his life shoold last so long, while the former 
ascends progressively to the head of the list, as his seniors drop 
off, or are promoted to flagH^ffioers. To show tiiat there is a 
distinction between the two orders of captains, we have, as is 
seen above, added to " commanders ** or '' sloop-captains ;" afraid 
to venture at lopping off the first term because so long used, 
and, among the pt>fession at least, so well known, but sanctioned. 
In a great degree, in subjoining the latter term as an explicative, 
\fy the notorious fiict, that every *' commander " is officially styled 
{%i*Ai the Admiralty lists), and officially as well as otherwise ad- 
AramtA, " captain."" 

A slight sketch of the naval strength of England's maritime 
allkjs in the war may here with propriety be introduced. Hol- 
land, according to her published accounts, possessed a navy 
amounting to 119 vessels, from a 74-gun ship to a six-gun cutter. 
Jlut this was on paper : when analyzed, the Dutch navy dwindles 
lnt/> c^miparative insignificance. For instance, of the 49 ** ships 
oi the line,*' the largest, owing to the local impediments formerly 
notfc^Ml,' was not superior to a second-class British third-rate ; 
and of those there were but 10 in all. The remainder of the 
Dutch line was composed of 64 and 54 gun-ships ; the latter a 
class expelled from the line of battle by all other navies, but 
retained by the Dutch as a handy description of two-decker for 
their shallow waters. Some of the Dutch frigates were fine 
ressels, but very few of them carried heavier metal than long 

1 Thlt WM an trnir wbleb bM been tlon took place when bis late Mi^estyWll- 

rocilfl«d. Altboudi bf aiurt«fjr com- liam the Fourth was Lord High Admiral 

nuind«5ni are calliNl eapuUru, yH they are * See p. 28. 
rfevtr ofllcialtj lo addreiied. 'itM aliera- 


12-poimder6 ; and the designation of frigate descended to ships 
of 500 tons, mounting twenty-four 8-pounders, including fonr in 
the 'tween decks amidships. We shall, however, for consistency 
sake, when having occasion to mention these vessels, call them 
corvettes. Upon the whole, the navy of Holland, especially as 
by far the greater proportion of the shipH lay rotten, and rotting, 
in dock or at their moorings in the different harbours, was little 
more than a nominal advantage to England in the war she was 
about to commence. 

Spain, according to a list given in Schomberg^s fourth volume, 
possessed a navy which, in numerical amount, vied with that of 
France. Out of a total of 204 vessels, 76 were of the line^ 
mounting from 112^ to 60 guns ; of which latter class, and of 
646, there were but 11. Of the 76 ships of the line, 56 appear 
to have been in commission, and, of the under-line vessels, 105 ; 
comprehending four-fifths of the whole Spanish navy. This was 
an extraordinarily large proportion, and out of whidi Spain might 
well stipulate to join the confederacy with 60 sail of vessels* 
great and small : a reinforcement, however, as the sequel will 
show, that proved of very little use. Portugal undertook to 
famish six sail of the line and four frigates ; which constitmted 
nearly the whole amount of her navy. Her line-of-battle ships 
consisted chiefly of 74s, were fine vessels, and partly officered 
by Englishmen. The navy of Naples is represented to have 
been composed, including 74 gun-boats, of 102 vessels, mounting 
618 guns, and manned by 8614 men. The principal part, if not 
the whole, of the line-of-battle force in this navy, consisted of 
four fine 74-gun ships, the Tancredi; Guiscardo, Samnita, and 
Parthenope ; which four ships, in conjunction with a body of* 
6000 troops, the King of the Two Sicilies engaged to place at 
the disposal, when required, of the British commander-in-chief 
in the Mediterranean. 

The principal maritime powers, which, when the war com- 
menced, stood in the character of neutrals, were Eussia, Den- 
mark, and Sweden. The navy of the first power consisted of 
about 40 sail of the line, the second of about 24, and the last of 
about 18. Eussia agreed so far to favour England in the war, 
as, with some restriction, to shut her ports against the vessels of 
republican France ; but neither Denmark nor Sweden would 
confederate with their neighbour in a measure by which, as they 
conceived, and perhaps justly, their commerce would be lessened. 

1 The SoDtiBsima-TriDldad, until subsequently built upon and augmented in force, was 


There was' a fourth yclept neutral power, which, althoagh 
possessing a navy of only a few frigates, and separated from 
Europe by the whole breadth of the Atlantic ocean, became in 
time, by her enterprising commercial spirit and expertness at 
concealing enemy's property, a more effective friend to France, 
and consequently a sharper thorn in the side of England, than 
if she had been at open war with her ; as, in the latter case, the 
nnmerons vessels of the United States, trading between France 
and her colonies, might, without any complaint, remonstrance, 
or quibble, have been legally detained by British cruisers. 

At no previous i>eriod had France possessed so powerful a 
navy as was now ready to second her efforts to humble, if not 
overthrow, her great maritime rival. It amounted altogether to 
about 250 vessels, of which 82 were of the line ; and of these, 
nearly three-fourths were ready for sea, or in a serviceable state.^ 
Moreover, the French government', shortly after the commence* 
ment of the war, in order to provide against those losses which, 
experience had shown, were likely to attend a contest with 
England, ordered to be laid on the stocks 71 ships, including 
25 of the line ; and to be cast at the national foundries 3100 
pie^s of sea-service ordnance, including 400 brass 36-pound6r 
carronades, the first of the kind, as it would appear, forged in 

Among the French ships ordered to be built, w;ere five to 
mount 100 guns, and eight frigat^es to carry 24-pounders on the 
main deck. Instead of the former, one ship to mount 130 guns, 
and be named Peuple, was laid down ; and, for the remaining 
four three-deckers, an equal number of 80s and 74s appear to 
have been substituted. Several of the old small-class 74s, or 
such as carried 24-pounders only on the lower deck, instead of 
being repaired to serve again in the line, or taken to pieces as 
unfit to serve at all, were cut down and converted into the most 
formidable frigates that had hitherto been seen. It is uncertain 
what was the exact armament of these '^ vaisseaux ras^s ;" but 
they appear to have mounted 28 long 24-pounders on the main 
deck, 18 long 12-pounders, and four brass 36-pounder carron- 
ades, upon the quarter-deck and forecastle, making a total of 50 
guns, with a complement of 500 men. It is believed that the 
first ship so fitted was named Experiment. Seven others were, 
Agrioole, Brave, Brutus, Flibustier, Hercule, Robuste, and 

The strength of any navy, considered in a national point of 

1 See Appendix, No. 6. 


view, is its line-of-battle, rather than its detached, or frigate force. 
The latter may cruise about, and interrupt trade, or levy con- 
tributions on some comparatiyely insignificant colonial terri- 
tory; but it is the former that arrays itself before formidable 
batteries, and strikes dead into the heart of the parent state; 
According to the usual mode of comparing the British and 
Trench line-of-battle forces, we ought to be satisfied with the 
following statement :— 

No. of Ships. 
British line . • , ,158 
French line . , . , 82 

The first, which is Steel's number for February, includes 
many ships for which there are no comparates in the number 
below. According to the first abstract in our series,^ 113 is 
the proper number ; but we shall add two of the ships in the 
building column, the Caesar and Minotaur, because they were 
launched early in the present year ; and, for the same reason, 
we shall not exclude more than two of the four French ships, 
described as nearly ready for launching. Hence, deducting the 
two French 74s declared to be unserviceable, and two otheir 
ships of the same class that were undoubtedly converted into 
frigates, the numbers will stand thus : — 

No. of Ships. 
British line . . . .115 
French line .... 76 

In the one case, the difference is as two to one, or nearly so ; 
in the other, it is barely as three to two. Still, the comparison 
is imperfect ; for, while the French line is possessed of as many 
as eight ships that mount from 110 to 120 guns each, the British 
line can produce no ship that mounts more than 100 guns ; and, 
while upwards of a fourth of the latter's numerical strength is 
made up of 64-gun ships,, the weakest ship belonging to the 
former mounts 74 guns. 

There is no remedy here, unless we take the total number of 
guns mounted on each side, which would be 8718 and 6002 ; 
showing a diflference of rather more than four to three. But, 
as every one of the lower-deck guns of any French line-of-battle 
ship is of greater nominal caliber, by one-ninth, than the heaviest 
long gun carried by any British ship i^ and as a French gun of 
any given caliber is of greater power, by one-twelfth, than an 

1 See Appendix, Annual Abstract, No. 1. (afterwards Montagne), represented to 

* Should the Britannia, because she have carried French 48-potuiders on the 

mounted 42*pounders on her lower deck, same deck, may be set>of[ against her. 

be deemed an exception, Uie Cdte d'Chr 




English gnn of the same nominal caliber,^ the mere number of 
guns on each side is still an inadequate criterion of force. It 
remains, then, to reduce the calibers of the 8718 English and 
6002 French guns into English pounds ; and, that being done, a 
very simple arithmetical operation produces the following state- 
ment : — 


No. of Ships. 

No. of Guns. 

Broadside weight 

of Metal 
In EngUsh Pnds. 

British line 

French line' . • 




Here is a difference, not as the loose unwarranted statements 
usually made public would have us infer, of more than a half, 
but of very little oyer a sixth ; and it is this mode of comparison 
alone that can enable posterity duly to appreciate the efforts of 
the British navy, in the two long and eventful wars which suc- 
ceeded and 'grew out of the French Revolution. Nor can the 
French themselves reasonably complain that this view of the 
relative strength of the two navies presents too slight a numerical 
difference ; one of their conventional deputies, and no less a man 
than Jean-Bon Saint- Andrd, having made the following public 
and uncontradicted assertion : " Avant la prise de Toulon, la 
France dtait la puissance maritime la plus redoubtable de 

As soon as war was resolved upon, the seamen of France were 
called together, by addresses calculated to rouse their patriotism 
and invigorate their efforts. The most violent invectives were 
cast upon the king and government of England ; and the latter's 
alleged hatred to France was painted in glowing colours. The 
sailors were promised that their pay should be augmented ; that, 
during their absence at sea, their wives and children should be 
taken care of ; that a considerable proportion of such prizes as 
they might capture should devolve on themselves ; and then, an 
enticing picture was drawn of the richly-freighted ships of Eng- 
land, coming alone and unprotected from every quarter of the 

^ See p. 45. 

* For the force of the different classes 
of French shifM see page Be. and for the 
same of English ships the first annual 
abstract in the Appendix. The Qibraltar's 
guns, for the reasons stated at n«te8 § and 

K* of that abstract, are not there specified. 
For the present it may sufiice to state 
that the Qibraltar's broadside weight of 
metal was only 828 lbs., instead of 972, the 
quantum assigned to the geuerality of her 


globe. But the moet deadly blow tbat was tdmed at Britieh 
commerce was the animating call upon the French merohants 
and capitalistB, to equip without delay strong and swifVeailing 
privateers. In short, the natnral valour and enterprise of 
Frenchmen had never been raised to so high a pitch of en< 
thnsiasm as at the onset of this the first maritime war in wbicli, 
with the sli^t exception of Sardinia, the republic was engaged. 
As in Hxe course of the details that are to follow irequent 
reference will be made to the force of French ships, a table, 
showing at one view the established armaments of the different 
classes, would tend to free the subject from much of its ao 
customed embarrassment. Fortunately the French navy, being 
composed wholly of French-built ships, a uniformity prevails 
that renders this mode practicable ; and here follows, drawn up 
from authentic records, a tabular statement, wliich will afford 
the Kquisite information : — 
















^ E 










HO-pin Bhlp 




1* i 

« « 




U ' 

*H '■ 





io-gm frig. 


11 "e 

e '.', 



There is one remarkable peculiarity in the arrangement of the 
guns on board of French ships. So paramount to all other con- 
sideralions is the comfort of the captain, that no gnns are 
moonted in the cabin of a line-of-battle ship ; and sometimes 
the aftermost port of the main deck of a frigate is left vacant, to 
answer a similar porpoee. This is the reason that French ships 
of the line, and frigates occasionally when captured by the 
British, are established with a greater number of guns than they 
had previously carried ; a British captain preferring the uniform 
qipearance of his gun-deck to the greater comfort of domestio 

In a week or two after the declaration of war against Ei^land, 




Bear-admiral Herre-Cdsar-Oharles-GuillaTime Sercey, with thd 
74rgan ships Eole, America, and Jupiter, and some frigates and 
corvettes, sailed from Brest bound to the West Indies ; whither 
the Phocion 74 had previously gone. About the same time a 
squadron from Brest, Lorient, and Eochefort began to assemble 
in Quiberon Bay ; and on the 4th of Judo Yice-admiral Morard- 
de-Galles, with all the line-of-battle ships then in the road, 
sailed from Brest for the same destination ; having under bis 
command, in the course of that and the following month, from 
14 to 17 line-of-battle ships, and, by the latter end of August, a 
fleet composed of the 21 sail of the line and four frigates named 
in the following list : — 


( Rear<4ulm. Lelarge. 

120 C6ted'0r 




Auguste • 

Indomptable . 
Juste . 
' Trajan , . 
Tigre . 
Suffren . 
Impetueox . 

Tourville . 
Achille . 
Convention , 
Revolution • 
, Superbe 

\ Captain Touissant Duplassis-Grenedan. 

( Vice-adm. Morard-de-Galles. 

( Commodore^ — Bonnefoux. 

{Rear-adm. Landais. 
Captain Richery. 

{Rear-adm. Yves-J. Kerguelen, 



Commodore Eustache Bruix. 

Jean-Elie Terrason. 
Louis-Thos. Villaret-Joyeuse. 

„ ■ Vanstabel. 

„ Fran9ois-Joseph Bouvet. 

Captain Yves-Francois Dore'. 
Yves-Louis Obet. 
Jean-Pierre Lev^que. 
Jean-Baptiste Henry. 
Guillaume Thomas. 
Joseph-Marie Coetnempren, 
Claude-Marie Langlois. 
— — Keranguen. 
— Labatnl. 
— ^— — Tiphaigne. 

■ Tranquellebn. 

■ Bois-Sauveur. 


IHgates, Galathe'e, Engageante, Nymphe, and Se'millante. 

1 A word or two may be here nsefiilly 
introdnoed on the comrarative rank of 
French naval officers. The French have 
only two classes of flag-officers; "vice- 
amiral," vice-admiraU and " contre- 
amiral/' rear-admiraL Their "grand- 
amiral," or, as recently styled, " amiral/' 
is an honorary rank usually given to some 
prince of the blood, and was of course 
suspended during the republican djmasty. 
When a " vice-unlral " commands a fleet, 
he Is usually styled " gdndral," and some- 
times «*amiraL^ The French have, also, 

or rather had during the war, a rank of 
•• chef de-division," or commodore, who 
hoisted his broad pendant even under a 
flag-officer. Their captains are divided 
into " capitaines de vaisseau de premiere 
classe," " capitaines de vaisseau de deux- 
ieme classe, and "capitaines de frigate." 
Of the first a portion bear, or rather bore 
during the war, the additional rank of 
•• chefs-de-divislon," or commodores ; and 
it is considered proper to give them that 
appellation in the lisU 


By a singular omission on the part of the French gbvemment, 
this formidable French fleet, instead of cruising in the ocean to 
harass British commerce, or speeding to the Antilles to strike a 
blow against one or more of the British colonies, was allowed 
to be at anchor in the road of Belle-Isle ; with permission, how- 
ever, to weigh occasionally, and stand across to the adjacent 
island of Groix. This was under an idea that England meant to 
make a descent upon that part of the French coast, in order to 
favour the cause of the royalists. 

The necessity, on the part of England, 6f despatching squa- 
drons, in the first instance, to the stations at a distance from 
home, occasioned some time to elapse ere a British fleet could 
be got ready, of sufficient strength to cope with the French 
fleet in Quiberon Bay, reinforced as that fleet was likely to be 
by ships from the neighbouring depots of Lorient, Rochefort, 
and Brest. It was not, therefore, until the 14th of July that 
Admiral Lord Howe, with the Channel fleet, consisting of 15 
ships of the line, besides a few frigates and* sloops, set sail from 
St. Helen's. On the 18th, at 4 p.m., when about 20 leagues to 
the westward of Scilly, the fleet was takeya aback in a squaB 
from the northward, and the Majestic 74, in wearing, fell on 
board of her second astern, the Bellerophon : by which accident 
the last-named 74 had the head of her bowsprit, her foremast, 
arid maintopmast carried away; but fortunately none of her 
crew were hurt. The Eamillies 74 was imme^ately ordered, 
by signal, to take the Bellerophon in tow. The former there- 
upon conducted her disabled companion to Plymouth, and on 
the 20th rejoined the fleet. On the 22nd Lord Howe was joined 
by the London 98, sent out to replace the Bellerophon in the 
line of battle; and on the next day, the 23rd, his lordship 
anchored with the fleet in Torbay. 

On the 26th, having the day previous received intelligence 
that an American ship had passed through a French fleet, 
believed to consist of 17 sail of the line, about 10 leagues to 
the westward of Belle-Isle, Lord Howe again put to sea, with 
the wind at west, and on the same day fell in with the 24-gun 
ship Eurydice, Captain Francis Cole ; who stated, that he had 
received a similar account from the master of an English priva- 
teer, with the addition, that the French were supposed to 
have stationed themselves off Belle-Isle, to be ready to protect 
a convoy daily expected from the West Indies. Lord Howe re- 
turned off Plymouth Sound, and was there joined by two ships, 
which he had requested to be sent to him : his force then con.- 







sisting of the following 17 sail of the line, nine frigates, and five 
smaller vessels : — 

I Admiral (w.) Richard, Earl Howe. 
Captain Sir Roger Curtis. 
„ Hugh Cloberry Christian, 
„ Jolm Hunter. 
{Vice-adm. (r.) Sir Alex. Hood, K.B. 
Captain WilHam Domett. 
(Vioe-Adm, (r.) Thomas Graves. 
Captain Henrj Nichols. 
. » Richard Goodwin Keats. 

Queen Charlotte 

Royal George 



Royal Sovereign 
London . • 
'Cumherland . 



Granges . 
Suffolk . 
Majestic . 
, Edgar . 

I Veteran . 
Sceptre . 
Intrepid . 

t( Rear-adm. (b.) John Macbride. 
'\ Captain Thomas Louis. 







James Montagu. 
Henry Harvey. 
William Parker. 
John Harvey. 
Anthony Jas. Pye MoUoy. 
Peter Rainier. 
Charles Cotton. 
Albermarle Bertie. 
Charles Edmund Nugent. 
Richard Dacres. 
Robert Montagu. 
Hon. Charles Carpenter. 

IHgateSf Hebe, Latona, Phaeton, Phoenix, Inconstant, Southampton, Lap- 
wing, Pegasus, and Niger. 
Shops, Incendiary (F.S.) and Ferret, two cutters, and one lugger. 

Lord Howe then stood away to the westward, with the wind at 
north, and, having cleared Ushant, altered his coarse to the south- 
ward, and steered for the supposed station of the French fleet. 

On the 31st, when the admiral had nearly reached the latitude 
of Belle-Isle, the wind, which had been blowing from the west- 
ward, veered suddenly back to north-north-east ; and the fleet 
stood in towards the land, on the larboard tack. At 2 p.m. the 
British descried the island bearing east-north-east, and almost 
at the same moment the fleet of M. Morard-de-Galles, consist- 
ing of 17 sail of the line (all those in the list at p. 60. except 
the CotoHi'Or, Tigre, and two out of the three ships, Aquilon, 

of their Tespective captains. Were the 
rank of the oflQcer not made subservient 
to the class of the ship, a degree of confa- 
sion would frequently ensae; thus, the 
Veteran, of 64, would rank above the 
Mi^estic and Edgar, of 74 guns. The 
letters r, w, b, enclosed in parentheses, 
stand for red, white, and blue, the colours 
of the flags worn by admirals, vice*ad' 
mirals, and rear-admirals respectively, ao 
cording to gradation of rank, as explained 
in the GkMsary. 

> In order to simplify these lists, we 
have omitted the letter referring to the 
dass, or subdivision of the rate, in the 
annual abstracts, except where there is a 
dUference of force. For Instance, the 
Queen Charlotte and Royal Qeorge each 
mount IS-pounders on the third deck, but 
the Royal Sovereign mounts only 12- 
ponnders. The figures after the names 
of the flag-oiBcers refer to their relative 
•enioiity. The ships of each rate, or class, 
Btand in the list according to the seniority 


Imp^tnenx, and B^Tolution), and several frigates, on the 

Having been ordered to cruise off and on the coast, to be in 
readiness to protect a convoy from America, expected to arrive 
nnder the escort of M. Sercey and his three 74s, the French 
admiral, when first seen, was standing on the starboard tack 
close hanled. At 5 p.m. the French ships, then bearing from 
the centre of the British fleet north-west-by-west, and appearing 
from the masthead with their topsails just above the verge of 
the horizon, tacked to the eastward. Lord Howe, with his fleet 
formed in line of battle, continued standing in, with a very mo^ 
derate breeze, until a little past 6 p.m ; when, being about three 
leagues from the north end of the island, he tacked to the north- 
west, and, after dark, each ship of the English fleet carried a light. 

On the Ist of August, soon after daybreak, the wind being 
very light, 17 sail were seen, at a great distance, in the north- 
east. At 7 A.M. the British fleet put about on the larboard 
tack, but tacked again soon afterwards, an alteration of the wind 
favouring an endeavour to approach the enemy ; many of whose 
ships, towards noon, were seen from the deck. Shortly after- 
wards it fell quite calm. As the evening came on, a light breeze 
sprang up from the north-west, of which the British fleet took 
advantage, and steered directly for the French fleet ; but the 
wind again shifting to north-east, the British fleet hauled to the 
northward, in order to get in with the shore. The French fleet, 
when last seen in the evening, consisted of 21 sail, two of them 
reconnoitring frigates, whose hulls were visible from the deck. 

On the 2nd not a French ship was to be seen ; but the master 
of an American vessel from Lorient informed Lord Howe, that 
he had the day previous passed through the French fleet, 
which he also represented to consist of 17 sail of the line. On 
the succeeding day two French ships were chased by the 
British advanced frigates, but were too near the shore to be 
overtaken. The unsettled state of the weather, which subse* 
quently became very tempestuous, rendered it necessary to dis- 
engage the fleet from the intricate navigation of this part of the 
French coast. The ships, accordingly, hauled their wind and 
stood off. On the 10th, the British admiral, after having, owing 
to the freshness of the wind, failed in an attempt to reconnoitre 
Brest, cast anchor in Torbay. 

Having effected his escape from a fleet which, according to 
the intelligence derived from the English newspapers, and from 
prizes and neutrals brought in by his frigatesi consisted, when it 


sailed, of a much greater force than 17 safl of the line, Vice- 
Admiral Morard-de-Galles returned to his anchorage in the road 
of Belle-Isle. Here, very soon, a spirit of mutiny began to show 
itself among the French sailors. The poor fellows were without 
shoes or shirts, and, although compelled by the orders of the 
government to be daily spectators of their own shore, had been 
feeding upon salt provisions until the greater part of them were 
infected with the scurvy. Add to this, that they were debarred, 
by their forced inactivity, from sharing the spoils of war with 
their more fortunate brother-tars in the open sea ; and it will be 
acknowledged, that the crews of the French ships at Belle-Isle 
had ample cause for complaint. 

In the commencement of September the sailors called upon 
the admiral to carry them to Brest ; alleging, as a pretext for 
going thither, that the inhabitants were disposed to deliver 
up the port to the British, after the recent example of the Tou^ 
lonese. To show that they were serious in their wish to 
repair to Brest, the crews of eight of the ships hoisted the top- 
sails preparatory to weighing. In this emergency, after a 
council of officers had been holden, and delegates heard from 
the disaffected crews, the admiral found himself obliged to yield. 
Accordingly, on the 21st the French fleet got under weigh from 
Belle-Isle, and on the 29th anchored in the road of Brest. 

The port of Brest will be so frequently alluded to in these 
pages, that a slight description of it may not be unacceptable. 
Brest lies a little to the southward of the most westerly point of 
France, and is in latitude 48" 22' north, and longitude from 
Paris 6° 48' west. It is considered to be one of the finest har- 
bours in France, and perhaps in Europe. It possesses a safe 
roadstead, in which 500 ships of war may ride in 8, 10, and 15 
fathoms, at low water. The entrance, called le goulet, is narrow 
and difficult, with two dangerous rocks, les Fillettes and le 
Mingan, nearly in mid-channeL 

The coast is well fortified on both sides ; and outside the 
entrance, or goulet, are two anchorages, where the men-of-war 
frequently lie : one to the northward, named Bertheaume Bay, 
sheltered from the north, north-east, and north-west winds ; the 
other to the southward, named Camaret Bay, sheltered from the 
east-south-east, south, and south-west winds. There are three 
passages into these bays, and into Brest harbour, from the sea : 
one named, Passage du Four, between the main land and the 
island of Ushant ; and which the British have since called the 
St. Vincent Channel ; the seicond, Passage de Tlroise, between 


Ushant and the Tsle des Saints ; and tlie third, Passage du Eaz, 
between the last-named isle and the Bee du Eaz. The first and 
third passages are by far the most dangerous ; and the Iroise, 
which is the centre or west passage, and of considerable width, 
is that off which the British fleet usually cruises. It is scarcely 
possible, however, to blockade the port of Brest, if the enemy 
inside is as vigilant as he ought to be. Brest contains the chief 
naval magazine of France, and is justly esteemed the key and 
bulwark of the countiy. 

On the 23rd of August the Channel fleet again weighed from 
Torbay, and sailed to the westward, to escort the Newfoundland 
trade clear of danger, and afford protection to the homeward- 
bound West India convoy on its arrival in soundings. Having 
effected both objects, and cruised ten or twelve days to the 
north-west of Scilly, Lord Howe, on the 4th of September, re- 
anchored in Torbay. On the 27th of October, after detaching 
Commodore Pasley, with the Bellerophon and Suffolk 74s, and 
Hebe, Latona, and Yenus frigates, to look after five French 
frigates that, two days before, had chased the Circe frigate into 
Falmouth, the British admiral once more put to sea, with his 
fleet augmented to 22 sail of the line, upon a cruise in the Bay 
of Biscay. On the 7th of November, when the fleet was close 
off Scilly, Commodore Pasley rejoined, without having seen 
anything of the squadron in pursuit of which he had been de- 
tached. On the 17th the Gibraltar of 80, and Suffolk of 74 
guns, parted company ; thus leaving still with Lord Howe 22 
sail of the line^ composed of all the ships (except the Suffolk 
and the four 64s) after mentioned, with the following ten ships 
in addition:— 

^al'^^' Tv; / Rear-adm. (w.) George Bowyer.i 

yo mnce . . \ Captain Cuthbert CoUingwood. 

„ Thomas Pasley. 


'Bellerophon , 

Tremendous ^ 

Alfied . 





Russel . 
, Marlborough . 

James Pigott. 

„ John Bazely. 

„ James Gambler. 

„ John Stanhope. 

„ George Wilson. 

„ Hon. Thomas Pakenham. 

„ John Willet Payne. 

,, Hon. George Craniield Berkeley. 

On the 18th, at 9 a.m., latitude 48° 32' north, longitude 

I Lord Howe, instead of the white, now sncceeded Rear-admiral Macbrids In the 
carried the tmion flag at the main ; koA command of the Camberland. 
Bear-Admiral (w.) Be^^in Caldwell bad 

YOL . I. t 


1^ 48' west, the 38-gun frigate Latona, Captam Edward Thorn- 
>x)rough, descried from her masthead, at a great distance to 
windward, a strange squadron, which proved to be French, 
and consisted of the 74-gim ships, Tigre, Jean-Bart, Aqnilon, 
Tourville, Imp^tueux, and B^volation, and frigates Insurgente 
and S^mUlante, Espiegle brig, and Ballon schooner, under the 
command of chef-de-diyision Yanstabel, from Brest on the 13th, 
upon a cruise in Cancale Bay. 

The French ships, mistaking, probably, Lord Howe's fleet for 
a merchant-couToy, bore down until their hulls were distinctly 
seen from the decks of the British ships. By signal from the 
commander-in-chief, the Bussel, Audacious, Defence, Bellero- 
phon, and Granges, as the most advanced line-of-battle ships, 
went in chase. The French squadron had by this time hove to : 
but, perceiving that they were pursued by a superior force, the 
ships now filled, and made sail to get off, carrying, in a very 
fresh wind from south by east, accompanied by a heavy sea, 
whole topsails, with topgallantsails occasionally ; while double- 
reefed topsails, with topgallantsails upon them, were all the sail 
which the British ships would bear. The Eussel soon sprang 
her foretopmast ; and at 11 a.m. the Defence, the weathermost 
line-of- battle ship, carried away her fore and main topmasts. 
The frigates were now ordered, by signal, to keep sight of the 
enemy and lead the fleet. 

At a few minutes past noon the wind in a squall shifted a 
point or two to the southward. Thus favoured, the chasing 
ships tacked, and the Latona soon found herself so near to the 
two rearmost French frigates as to fire several shots at them. 
At 4 P.M. Captain Thomborough could have weathered and 
would have cut off one of them, the S^millante, had not Com- 
modore Yanstabel, in the Tigre, accompanied by his second, 
bore down to prevent him. The two French 74s passed so near 
to the Latona as to discharge their broadsides at her ; but only 
two shots struck her, and they, fortunately, hurt no one. On 
receiving the fire of these ships, the British irigate gallantly 
luffed up and returned it ; with so much effect, as to cut away 
the fore stay and main tack of the Tigre, besides doing some 
damage to her hull. No other ship of the British fleet was able 
to get near, although all the ships carried sail to that degree, 
that not only the fore and maintopmasts of the Defence, but 
the maintopmasts of the Vanguard and Montagu were carried 
away ; and the ships were compelled, in consequence, to bear 
up for the Channel. 


Towards evening the wind backed more round to the east- 
ward, and, soon after midnight, shifted to east-south-east, and 
then east, the night being extremely dark. This alteration in 
the wind threw several of the advanced British ships as much to 
leeward, as they had previously been to windward ; and, in ex- 
pectation that the French ships wonld profit by the change and 
put about, or be restrained from bearing up, lest the leewardmost 
British ships should cut them off, Lord Howe kept his fleet upon 
a wind during the remainder of the night. 

Towards 2 a.m. on the 19th, however, in the midst of a heavy 
squall of wind and rain, the French squadron bore away large to 
the westH80uth-west.^ At 2 h. 30 m. a.m., on the weather clear* 
ing a little, the Bellerophon, who was now the most advanced, 
and quite out of sight of all her line companions, discovered 
two or three sail of the enemy right ahead, and some others on 
her lee or larboard bow: she immediately bore away, and 
steered to pass between the two divisions. The return of thick 
weather soon shut out all the ships from her view, and at day- 
light none were in sight but the Latona and the 36-gun frigate 
Phoenix, Captain Richard John Strachan. These frigates were 
at first supicious of each other, but in a little while came to 
a mutual recognition, and then bore up in company after an 
enemy*s ship which had just hove in sight in the south-west, and 
was standing towards three others, that soon made their appear- 
ance in the west. On the Latona's making the signal, that these 
four ships, all of which were of the line, were superior to the 
chasing ships, Captain Pasley made the signal of recal ; and the 
Bellerophon, accompanied by the Latona, Phoenix, and 38rgun 
frigate Phaeton, Captain the Honourable Bobert Stopford, who 
had just joined company, bore away in search of the admiral, 
and, not finding him, steered for the Channel. 

Having re-assembled the greater part of his ships, Lord Howe 
continued to cruise until towards the middle of December; 
when, no enemy appearing, he returned with the fleet to Spit- 

The squadron, which this time so narrowly escaped from Lord 
Howe, had been despatched upon a service that, if successful, 
would have redounded to the credit of France, and have caused 
a corresponding sensation on the opposite side of the Channel. 
The customary practice in England, of making expeditions, 

1 It is believed that some of the Queen bows, bat found a diflBculty in peremtding 
Chsrlotte'B oflBcers. with their nightr Sir Roger Curtis of the fact, 
saw the Frendi bhips cross her 


whether great or small, the subject of newspaper paragraphs, 
having apprised the French government, that Vice-admiral Sir 
John Jervis, with four sail of the line, and a convoy, charged 
with provisions, naval stores, and troops, for the relief of Lord 
Hood at Toulon, was to sail from Portsmouth in the early part 
of November, a squadron, composed of six of the fastest sailing 
ships (the oldest of which, the Tourville, had not been launched 
a twelvemonth) of the Brest fleet, was detached to intercept the 
English vice-admiral. 

On the 13th of November M. Vanstabel set sail from the 
road of Brest ; and on the 19th, when Lord Howe*s fleet hove in 
sight to leeward, the French commodore made sure that it was 
Sir John Jervis and his convoy, and bore down to endeavour to 
fulfil the object of his orders. Sir John was certainly to have 
sailed from Spithead in the beginning of the month, with one 
98, one 74, and one 64 gun-ship, two 44s, and several frigates, 
sloops, and transports ; destined to succour, not the royalists at 
Toulon, but those at Martinique and the adjacent French 
islands. M. Vanstabel, had he not fallen in with Lord Howe, 
would, however, have had to wait some days for his expected 
prey, Sir John Jervis, with his convoy of 39 vessels, not having 
been able, until the 26th, to get away from St. Helen's.^ On the 
30th M. Vanstabel returned to Brest, but not empty-handed ; 
for, on the very day, or, as some of the French accounts say, on 
the very hour, on which he lost sight of the last ship of Lord 
Howe's fleet, he fell in with a British homeward-bound convoy 
(believed from Newfoundland), and took from it 17 ships and 
brig^, all deeply laden. 

A battle between the two rival fleets had been so confidently 
predicted, that tte nation was very ill prepared to receive the 
account of a bootless campaign. To suppose, however, that 
Lord Howe and his fleet had not, in both instances of his meet- 
ing the enemy, done all that was possible to bring on an engage- 
ment, betrayed a total unacquaintance with the subject. A fleet 
chasing in line of battle must not be expected to accomplish the 
best rate of sailing of the best sailer ; for if one ship is inferior 
to the rest, the whole fleet must be detained, in order that the 
slowest ship should keep her station. The proverbial character 
of French ships renders it probable that the slowest sailer of the 
Brest fleet could have out-sailed the swiftest sailer of Lord 
Howe's ; especially upon a wind, in a light breeze, as was the 

» Captain Prenton, by mistake (Naval History, vol. U., p. 14), states that Sir John 
Jervis sailed on the 6th. 


case in the rencounter off Belle-Isle. In that of Cancale Bay, 
the French ships evidently got away by dint of superior sailing, 
aided by the thick and squally weather, and by the accidents 
which befel many of the leading British ships, and obliged them 
to discontinue the chase. 

The refusal of M. Morard de Galles to come to an action with 
Lord Howe, where the forces were numerically equal, may have 
arisen from one or all of the following causes : an idea, founded 
on the reports of neutral and other vessels, met at sea, that the 
British admiral had upwards of 20, instead of 17 sail of the 
line ; the orders of the French government, not to risk an en^ 
gagement unless with such odds in his favour as would ensure 
success, or unless the expected provision-laden convoy from 
America, the object of solicitude to all France, should require 
his protection. Of this convoy we hear nothing during the 
present year ; but Bear-admiral Sercey, who had been detached 
to escort it home, brought safe to the port of Brest, in the 
early part of November, his three 74s, the Eole, America, and 

Having closed our year's account of the proceedings of the 
hostile fleets cruising in the Channel, we have next to attend to 
those stationed in the Mediterranean ; on the northern coast of 
which is situated the second naval depot belonging to France. 
Toulon lies about 10 French leagues east from Marseille, 24 
south-west from Nice, and 125 in the same direction from Paris. 
The sea-front is well defended by batteries, that flank all the 
avenues. However, as this port is likely, in the course of our 
narrative, to become a very interesting spot, we shall borrow an 
able description of it from the work of a contemporary. 

'^ The engineer who constructed the dock at Toulon had great 
difficulties to encounter ; the ground was full of springs, and 
constantly imdermined his foundation ; he was therefore obliged 
to make an inverted arch of solid materials, which has answered 
the intended purpose : the French build their largest and best 
ships here. Besides the inner harbour which encloses the 
arsenal, they have an outer harbour and a road. The inner 
harbour is a work of art, formed by two jetties, hollow and 
bomb-proof, running off from the east and west sides of the 
town, and embracing a space large enough to hold thirty sail of 
the line, stowed in tiers very close together, as many frigates, 
and a proportion of smaU-craffc, besides their mast-pond. The 
arsenal is on the west side, and the ships in ordinary or fitting, 
lie writh their bowsprits or their stems over the wharf; the 


storehouses, containing the varioas articles of equipment, are 
within fifteen yards of them; the rope-house, sail-loft, bake- 
house, mast-house, ordnance, and other buildings, are capacious 
and good : the model-loft is worth the attention of strangers, 
but it is seldom they can obtain the indulgence of an admission. 
The water in the basin is, of course, sufficiently deep to receive 
a first-rate with all her stores. The east side is occupied by the 
victualling-department and the gun-boats : the north side is a 
fine capacious quay, on which stands the tower, extending from 
the dock-yard to the victualling-office ; immediately in front of 
it is the mouth of the basin formed by the meeting of the two 
jetties to the distance of about sixty feet, on the easternmost one 
a pair of sheers is erected for masting the ships ; a boom closes 
the entrance at night, and another runs from the jetty to the 
town, confining all the small-craft and timber on the west side 
of the harbour ; the basin is never ruffled by any wind to occa- 
sion damage ; the outer sides of the jetties present two tremen- 
.dous batteries, h fleur d*eau, or nearly even with the water's 
edge, which we consider the very worst species of fort for a ship 
to encounter. 

" The space for the anchorage of ships of war in the inner 
road is very confined, and probably not more than two or three 
sail of the line could lie there at a time ; the gi'ound is in general 
foul and rocky. The great road is a good anchorage, but neither 
.extensive, nor secure from the effects of a Levanter, which 
throws in a heavy sea : it is defended on the south side by a 
peninsula, terminating at Cape Sepet : the bay of Toulon, which 
is eastward of this, is open, and the water deep, therefore not to 
be relied on as an anchorage in all weathers. The town, which, 
it has been observed, occupies the north side of the inner har- 
bour, is fortified with great art, both on the land and sea 
approaches ; but being commanded by the heights with which 
it is surrounded on all sides, must be dependent on them for 
protection. A semicircular chain of mountains on the north, 
extends from the Hieres-road on the east, to the pass of Oliol on 
the west ; this pass might have bid defiance to any force, had 
it been guarded by British troops: it is five miles from the 
town. Strong batteries from the heights command also the 
arsenal and the anchorage. Fort la Malgue stands on a hill 
between the little and the great road ; Fort Mulgrave occupies 
the tongue of land continued from this hill into the harbour : 
opposite to it, and on a point of land which forms the little road, 
at the distance of half a mile, stand the forts of Aiguillete and 


Bellagner ; whence to Cape Sepet the shore is one continued 
chain of forts. 

'^ The heights of Tonlon are estimated at six hundred yards, 
and are of the most rugged and difficult ascent: the rocks 
crumbled under the feet of our daring countrymen as they 
mounted to the assault, and often precipitated huge masses on 
the heads of those beneath ; the tops are guarded by the re- 
doubts of St. Antoine, Artigues, St. Catherine's, and others : 
from the battery of lit Croix, on the peninsula, to Cape Brun, 
the distance is two thousand yards, and this may be taken as the 
extreme breadth of the great road from north to south ; west- 
ward of this may be about the same distance towards the grand 
tower and Bellaguer. 

*' The Mediterranean, though subject to strong and irregular 
currents, has no rise or fall of tide: this peculiarity of the in- 
land sea subjects the port of Toulon to difficulties unknown to 
the rest of Europe, and its improvement, under such natural 
disadvantages, is highly creditable to the ingenuity and public 
spirit of the nation. They have but one large dock, which, 
when filled for the reception of a ship, is afterward pumped 
out by the convicts, who were formerly employed in working 
the galleys ; but that species of force b^ing now disused, these 
people are kept to such labours only as their crimes have de- 
served, and their strength will enable them to perform."^ 

France having assembled, at the time she declared war, a 
powerful fleet in the harbour of Toulon, it became necessary 
that an English fleet should be despatched, without delay, to 
the Mediterranean, Accordingly a fleet, in several divisions, 
proceeded for that destination. The first division, composed of 
one 98, and one 74 gun-ship, under the orders of Kear-admiral 
John Gell, in the St. Greorge, sailed from Spithead early in April ; 
and on the 15th of the month, was followed from the same 
anchorage by the second division, composed of two 98, and three 
74 gun-ships, and two frigates, under Vice-admiral Philip Cosby, 
in the Windsor Castle. The third division, composed of one 
100, three 74, and one 64 gun-ship, and two frigates, imder 
Vice-admiral Hotham, in the Britannia, sailed also from Spit- 
head early in May, and was followed, on the 22nd of the same 
month, by the fourth and last division, composed of one 100, 
five 74, and one 64 gun-ship, five frigates and sloops, two fire, 
and two hospital ships, under Vice-admiral Lord Hood, the 
commander-in-chief, in the Victory. 

1 Brenton'8 Naval History, vol. L, p. 200. 




It was not until the middle of August that the yice-admiral 
arrived before the port of Toulon. His force then consisted of 
the following 21 sail of the line, besides frigates and sloops : — 


jVictoiy , 

(Windsor Castle 
98< Princess Royal 

,St. George 

Temble . 
Egmont . 
Robust . 
Bedford . 
'Berwick . 
Captain . 
Colossus . 

) Agamemnon 
Ardent • 
'"jDiadem . 
I Intrepid * 


{Vice-adm. (r.) Lord Hood. 
Rear-edm. (w.) Sir Hyde Parker. 
Captain John Knight. 
i Vice-adm. (w.) William Hotham. 
(Captain John Holloway. 

{Vice-adm. (b.) Philip Cosby. 
Captain Sir Thomas Byard. 
{Rear-adm. (r.) Charles GoodalL 
Captain John Child Purvis. 
{Rear-adm. (b.) John Cell. 
Captain Thomas Foley. 
Robert Linzee. 
SkeffingtiHi Lutwidge. 
Archibald Dickson. 
Hon. Geo. Keith Elphinstone. 
Hon. Wilb'am Waldegrave. 
Robert Mann. 
Sir John Collins. 
Sam a el Reeve. 
William Young. 
Hon. Hugh Seymour Conway. 
Charles Morice Pole. 
Thomas Lennox Frederick. 
Horatio Nelson. 
Robert Manners Sutton. 
Andrew Sutherland. 
Hon. Charles Carpenter. 







The French had in Toulon ready for sea, exclusive of several 
frigates and corvettes, the following 17 sail of the line : — 


120 Commerce de Marsdlle. 
80 Tonnant. 
7 Apollon.2 

Commerce de Bordeaux. 
74 < Destin. 












There were also four sail of the line, Dauphin-Poyal, 120, 
Triumphant 80, and Puissant and Suflftsant 748, refitting ; nine 


1 It is doubtfal If this ship Joined before 
the latter end of August 

^ The seven ships thus marked had, 
since the conraiencement of the year, 
arrived firom the Biscayan ports. 




repairing, or in want of repair, namely, Conronue and Langae- 
doc 808, and Alcide, Censeur, Conqu6rant, Dictateur, Guerrier, 
Mercure, and Soaverain 748 ; also one building, but not in & 
verj forward state.' The fleet was commanded by Eear-admiral 
tbe Gomte de Trogoff; who, even had tlic forces been more 
eqnallj matched, was too aound a monarchist to Sre a Bhot in 
the caiue of republicanism. The spirit of dieaffeution existed, 
not only to a partial extent in the fleet, but very generally 
throughout the whole of the southern provinces ; and the in- 
habitante, for their alleged disloyalty, were either feeling, or 
momentarily dreading, the full weight of republican rage. 

Such being the posture of affairs, no surprise was escited 
when, on the 23rd of August, two commisaionerB came ofl" to the 
Victory, Lord Hood's flag-ship, to treat for the conditional sur- 
render of the port and shipping to the British. These commis- 
sioners represented themselves to be charged with full powers 
from the sections of the departments of the mouths of the Bhone, 
in which Marseille was situated, to treat for peaoe ; expressly 
stating, that the leading object of their negotiation was to effect 
the re-establishment of a monarchical government in rrance. 
They expected, they said, the immediate arrival of deputies, 
similarly authorized, from the section of the department of Var, 
of which Toulon was the principal town. 

To encourage the inhabitants of both departments to make it 
free avowal of their sentiments, Lord Hood issued, without delay, 
a pre1imiimi7 declaration, in which he pledged himself, that,,if 
a candid and explicit declaration of monarchy should be made 

1 Tha tolU 

3 mppeued in prim,— 

d maj be nLted ojun ut 

Aaguit. 11 











In ToulodJ Ui dittu and U.8 basin, repslring. or 


liudiua, building 




















at Toulon and Manellle, the standard of royalty hoisted, the 
ships in Toulon dismantled, and the harbour and forts placed 
provisionally at his disposal, so as to admit of egress and regress 
to the British fleet, the people of Provence should have all the 
assistance and support which that fleet could afford ; that not 
an atom of private property should be touched; that a peace 
upon just, liberal, and honourable principles was the sole object 
of the treaty ; and that, on such an event taking place, the port 
of Toulon, its batteries, and shipping, with the stores of every 
kind, as particularized in a schedule to be drawn up, should be 
restored to France. To this succeeded a very animated procla- 
mation, addressed to the inhabitants of the towns and provinces 
in the south of France ; wherein the miseries of the nation were 
forcibly, yet truly, depicted, and assurances given, that the 
coalesced powers would willingly co-operate with the well 
disposed, in putting down the odious faction that governed the 
country. As the republican forces, under General Carteau, 
were pressing hard upon Marseille, the British admiral was 
compelled to confine his assistance in that quarter to the grant- 
ing of a passport, authorizing the inhabitants to import grain, of 
which the town stood greatly in need. 

Toulon was not unanimous in the wish for a monarchical 
government. A republican party, although not very formidable, 
existed in the town, and the bulk of the fleet, with Bear-admiral 
St. Julien, the second in command, at its head, had avowed a 
simUar sentiment; but the commander-in-chief, as already 
stated, was a stanch monarchist. It was this disunion that had 
prevented the expected junction of the deputies on board the 
Victory; and the admiral determined to send an officer to 
Toulon, to ascertain how matters stood. Accordingly, on the 
afternoon of the 24th, Lieutenant Edward Cooke, of the Victory, 
accompanied by a midshipman, and clothed with powers to 
treat with the royalists for the surrender of the port, departed 
on that perilous enterprise. He purposely delayed entering the 
harbour until 10 p.m. It was then dark and windy, and he kept 
close under a high shore until abreast of the French fleet ; when, 
conceiving the boldest measure to be the safest, he pushed off 
to the ships, and, being taken for one of their own boats, passed 
unnoticed between them. 

'« On reaching the dock yard, and escaping detention by a gun- 
boat that had boarded him, Lieutenant Cooke received a deputa- 
tion from the committee-general, but was not permitted to land 
pntil next morning. Finally, he was conducted to the chamber 


where the committee was sitting ; and the latter signed a de^ 
claration, agreeing to Lord Hood's proposal. One of the articles 
of that declaration was: "The people of Toulon trust the 
English nation will famish, speedily, a force sufficient to assist 
in repelling the attacks with which they are at this moment 
threatened, by the army of Italy, which is marching towards 
Toulon, and by that of General Carteau, who directs his forces 
against Marseille." In his way back to the fleet. Lieutenant 
Cooke was arrested, but liberated by the mob ; and, on the same 
afternoon, reached the Victory in safety. 

The same enterprising officer afterwards made a second trip ; 
and the following extract from a private letter from Lieutenant 
Cooke gives an interesting account of one out of the many hair- 
breadth escapes he underwent: — "A French frigate lay] very 
much in my way ; therefore, to throw her oflf her guard, I stood 
directly towards her : till, having neared the shore so that her 
boat could not cut me off, I altered my course, and rowed for 
the shore as fast as possible. The frigate immediately manned 
and sent off her long-boat, who kept up a constant fire of swivels 
at me the whole way; but they were too late; the shot aU 
passed over my head, and I landed safe, though by no means 
without some doubts : this, however, was not a time for reflec- 
tion. From the nature of the shore, which is bounded by high 
rocks, it was absolutely necessary to pass the broadside of the 
frigate, who was anchored parallel to it : so stopping to take 
breath before t opened the vessel, I jumped from among the 
rocks and ran for it. As I expected, she fired instantly ; but I 
had not far to go, so only received her first fire before I got to 
the path that led up the cliff. Here the looseness of the ground^ 
with the sand and dirt that the shot threw up, bothered me 
very much. Having at length gained the top, which, l^ough 
not high, was exceedingly steep, I hid myself in the bushes and 
fig-trees, till I again recovered my strength and breath; all 
which time the frigate kept up a constant fire, which, to be 
sure, made a confounded noise among the trees, but did me no 
harm. At length, quitting my post, I pushed forward for the 
city, and arrived about 10 o'clock, amidst the acclamations ni 
the greatest multitude I ever beheld." 

On the 26th, in the evening, Lieutenant Cooke returned, 
accompanied by Captain Imbert, of the French 74 ApoUon, as a 
special commissioner from the committee-general, for the purpose 
of ratifying the treaty; and who assured Lord Hood, that 
Xiouis XYIL had been proclaimed by the sections, and that the 

74 sazuBM xny rsMSkX ylects. ^it^. 

Wd won w acbffvkd^ kBL OiLtks^i&er5M-*iiiiind 
to knd tnftff^ mmd taiat poscaBMa «f tW t^jcts that 

had €m tke pffyrd»g dftj. Ae "^Stk, been cmpdbd to open 
tkeir gaits to Gcaenl Ontefla aad \m an^f . 

Tke FioKk Bear^dBinl Sil. Jafinu to vkf» tke seamen 
bad mtrnfted tbe eoBsaad of tW teet, in tbe xwm of Bear- 
adbnral IVogoC bad, in Ae nean time. Btaaed tbe forts on 
tbekiftof the baibo«;m ovdo-to oppose die Bkiibli intbdr 
eatrf . Secii^ this, Lord Hood, at noon on tbe :^th. oidered 
alMmt 1500 troopa, riinnJHiiaj, of tbe greater portions of two 
regiments tbat bad been embarked intbedeet* and about 200 
marines and seamen to be kaded near Fort Lazcalgne. The 
serriee was promptij executed nnder tbe direction of Captain 
ElpfainstODe, of the Bobost, sad immediate pa aPcsH on taken of 
the lort; of iriiich Captain Elpbinstone was ^ipointed gofremor. 
This fort, which was on the r^^ of the hsrbonr, commanded 
thsi oecofML bj St. Jnlien; who, on beii^ informed by a flag 
of traee, that soch of the ships as did not immedialelj proceed 
into the inner harboor and Und their powdo*, wonid be treated 
as enemies, sbsndoned his position, and, witii the crews of seren 
line-of-battle ships, smonnting to 5000 officers and men. escaped 
into the interior. In the course of the morning, the remaining 
French ships remored into the inner hariwur, in compliance 
with Captain Eli^iinKtone's ordo'; and in the afternoon, the 
BrituAk and Spanish fleets (the Utter, composed of 17 sail of the 
line, baring bore in sight jnst as the troops had efiected a land- 
ing) andiored togetho* in the onter harbour of Toulon. 

On the same daj, the 27th, Lord Hood issued a second x)ro- 
c^amation, confirmatorj of the assurances contained in his first ; 
andt on the following daj, receiyed a satis&ctorj address from 
the united sections of the dvH and military departments. On 
the 2Sth, also, the British at Lamalgue receiyed a reinforcement 
of 1000 men from the Spanish fleet. Lord Hood appointed 
Bear-admiral Goodall goyemor of Toulon and its dependencies, 
and the Spanish Bear-admiral Grayina, commandant of the 

Haying gained information that a detachment irom Carteau's 
army, with ten pieces of cannon and some cayalry, was posted 
at Senary and Ollioules, two yillages about fiye miles distant 
from Fort Lamalgue, Captain Elphinstone, on the 31st, sent 
dfrections to the committee of war at Toulon to forward to bim 
a proporti<ni of their best troops, with six pieces of artillery : he 

1793.] . LORD HOOD AT TOULON. 77 

then marched at the head of 300 British, and the same number 
of Spanish troops, in the direction of Ollioules. The enemy was 
found very advantageously posted, with two pieces of cannon 
stationed on a bridge in his front ; but, affcer a slight resistance, 
he abandoned his position, leaving in the hands of the con« 
querors his cannon, horses, ammunition, &c. 

The French force consisted of between 700 and 800 men ; and 
their commander, citizen Mouret, had received orders to possess 
himself of the heights that commanded the powder-magazine at 
Malaud. The British loss was Captain Douglaa, of the 11th 
regiment, killed, and a sergeant and 12 privates wounded ; the 
Spaniards lost three killed, and two wounded. On their way 
back to liamalgue, the allied troops met the French royalist 
troops, who had been unavoidably delayed in their departure 
from Toulon. The success of Captain Elphinstone in this affair 
gained him many compliments on his knowledge of military 
tactics, so little expected in an oflScer of the navy. 

During the early part of September, the increasing numbers 
of General Carteau's army on the west, and of General La- 
poype's, or the army of Italy, on the east, kept the allied posts 
in a constant state of alarm. Nor was it at all lessened by the 
turbulent behaviour of the 6000 French seamen, lately belong- 
ing to the ships in port. Lord Hood, being determined to send 
these away as quickly as possible, gave orders that four of the 
most unserviceable of the French 74s, the Entreprenant, Orion> 
Patriote, and Trajan, should be got ready for their reception. 
Each ship's guns, except two 8-pounders, with 20 cartridges 
of powder for making signals, were sent on shore, as well as all 
the small arms. On the 14th the refractory seamen embarked, 
and the ships, being provided with passports, sailed under flags 
of truce ; the Orion bound to Eochefort, the Aquilon to Lorient, 
and the Patriote and Entreprenant to Brest : the two latter ships 
reached their destination on the 13th of October ; a day or two 
previously to that date, the two former arrived at their respec- 
tive ports. The 16-gun brig-corvette Pluvier, at the same time, 
was sent to Bordeaux. 

On the 18th of September, in the morning, the republicans 
opened two masked batteries, one of three, the other of two 
mortars, at the head of the north-west arm of the inner road,^ 
near La Petite-Garenne, upon the prize-frigate Aurore, carrying 
12 and 6 pounders. Captain Henry Inman, and a gun-boat, or 
floating-battery, mounting four long 24-pounder8 and two brass 
mortars : which two vessels had been stationed near the Pou- 


dri^re, for the defence of the head of the harbour, and to corer 
the fort of Malboxusqnet on the side next to the water. 

On the 19th the republicans opened a fresh battery to the left 
of the above mentioned, mounted with several 24-pounders; 
and on the same day the British 98-gun ship the St. George, 
bearing the flag of Bear-admiral (xell, accompanied by a second 
floating-battery, under the command of Lieutenant Joseph Sal- 
vador Moriencourt, of the Princess Boyal, 98, joined the Aurore. 
During the whole day a heavy fire was maintained between the 
98-gun ship, frigate, and two floating-batteries, and the newly- 
erected works of the republicans: but at noon the two floating- 
batteries were forced to slip their cables, to get out of the reach 
of the enemy's fire. The works of the republicans, although 
partially destroyed by the fire of the British vessels, were quickly 
renewed, and the firing recommenced as briskly as ever. 

On the 20th the floatin^batteries returned to the attack ; 
and the cannonade continued during that and the following day, 
but with so much increased disadvantage to the two floating- 
batteries, that one of them was sunk by the effects of the shot 
she had received. Among the wounded officers in one of the 
floats was Mr. Henry Yansittart, a midshipman of the Victory. 
A heavy oak splinter struck him on the head, cut through the 
skull to the thin membrane that covers the brain, and, passing 
on, took off the thigh of a Spanish bombardier, serving in com- 
pany with the British seamen.^ 

On the 24th, Bear-admiral Gell having been appointed to 
command a small squadron of British, Spanish, and Boyalist 
French ships, bound to Genoa, the Princess Boyal 98, com- 
manded by Captain John Child Purvis, in the absence of Bear- 
admiral Goodall, on shore as Governor of Toulon, took the 
place of the St. George before the republican batteries. A 
Spanish 74 now also formed x>a^ of the cannonading force. 
During the flre which was kept up at intervals every day, 
for some weeks, the Princess Boyal (and not the St. George, as 
a contemporary states^) met witii a serious accident. One of 
her lower-deck guns unfortunately burst : whereby three seamen 
were killed, the master, one master's mate, and 22 seamen and 
marines wounded. A piece of the upper part of the gun forced 
its way through both the second and third decks, overturning 
upon the former a gun and its carriage. 

On the 24th, also, the Colossus 74 arrived, with 350 Sardinian 

1 Manhairs Boyal Naval Blographj, * Brenton, vol. i., p. 211. 

vcL il, p. 380. 


troops, from Cagliari. On the 28th 800 more arrived from 
Conti, in the Bedford and another 74, which had been detached 
to bring them ; and on the same day, arrived Marshal Fort^ 
guerri from Naples, with the two 74-gun ships Gniscardo and 
Tancr^, and four smaller vessels, having on board 2000 troops. 
On the 30th Bear-admiral GeU, having received his instractions 
from Lord Hood, sailed from Genoa with the St. George, Bed- 
ford, and Captain, British line-of-battle ships, two British frigates, 
and five sloops ; one Boyalist French, three Spanish sail of the 
line, and eight or nine French or Spanish frigates and corvettes 
formed part of his squadron. 

During the night of the 30th the republicans, availing them- 
selves of a thick fog, surprised a detachment of Spanish troops^ 
and thereby got possession of the heights of Pharon, immediately 
over Toxdon. On the next day, however, just as liiey had esti^ 
blished themselves in thefr new position, the French were driven 
from it, with great slaughter, by a detachment of Spanish, 
Sardinian, Neapolitan, and British troops, under the command of 
Brigadier-general Lord Mulgrave (who had arrived on the 6th), 
assisted by Eear-admiral Gravina and Captain Elphinstone. 
The republican forces were stated to have amoimted to 1800 or 
2000 men, and to have lost nearly three-fourths of the number 
in killed, wounded, and missing. The loss of the combined 
forces consisted of 8 killed, 72 wounded, 2 missing, and 48 

Napoleon Buonaparte was present in these attacks. The foU 
lowing anecdote of him is extracted from a French historical 
work : '* Un jeune homme de vingt-trois ans frit jugd capable 
et digne du commandement de Tartillerie ; on la lui confia. Ce 
jeune homme avait regu une ^ucation toute militaire, et Ton r^ 
marquait d^jk qu'un amour ardent pour la gloire enfiammait le 
gdnie de Buonaparte. C'^tait lui-m^me. L'habilet^ et la 
hardiesse de ses dispositions se font remarquer. A Tattaque du 
fort Pharon, un commissaire de la convention critique et oon- 
damne la position d'une batterie. Buonaparte lui dit aveo 
fierte : Melez-vous de votre metier de repr^entant ; laissez-moi 
faire le mien d*artilleur : cette batterie restera Ik, et je r^ponds 
du succes."^ The battery, it appears, did ftdly succeed, and 
Buonaparte received the applause of the generals present: 
shortly afterwards he was himself made a brigadier-general. 

On the 5th of October a second division of 2000 Neapolitan 
troops, escorted by a Neapolitan 74, the Samnita, arrived at Ton- 

I Dictioimaire Hbtorique, torn* !▼., p. 131. 


Ion. On the 8th it was resolved to attempt the destmction of 
three batteries which the enemy had recently erected, one on the 
height des Monlins, and two to the southward, on the height de 
Beinier ; and all of ivhich forts, particularly the two latter, me- 
naced the shipping in the road. Accordingly, on the same night, 
a detachment of troops, composed of 50 Spaniards, 100 Pied- 
montese, 50 Neapolitans, 408 British, including 50 marines, 
and a party of seamen headed by lieutenant Walter Serecold, 
of the navy, the whole under the command of Lieutenant-colonel 
Nugent, marched up the difficult ascent to the batteries, and 
stormed and carried them with a very trifling loss. 

The French force in these batteries was said to consist of 300 
men, and, at the heights a little above them, from 1200 to 1300 
were concentrated. The narrow paths and rugged precipices by 
which the troops had to descend, in order to avoid the fire from 
two heavy batteries in the neighbourhood, rendered it impracti- 
cable to bring away the ordnance. The guns, therefore, con- 
sisting of one 4, one 6, two 16, and three 24 pounders, besides 
two 13-inch mortars, all of brass, were eflfectually destroyed, 
under the immediate direction of Lieutenant Serecold; and 
the combined forces returned to their quarters without moles- 

The city and suburbs of Toulon occupied a circumference of 
at least 15 miles, including eight principal, and several inter- 
mediate posts, between most of which there was only a water 
communication ; the total amount of British troops, at this time 
in and about Toulon, amoimted only to 1360 rank and file. 
Hence, the extended line of works necessary to defend the town 
on the land side, the small quantity of troops of which the garrison 
was composed, the strength, activity, and local experience of 
the besiegers ; but, above all, the Imckwardness of some, and 
the jealousy and distrust of others, of the allied forces, were 
among the many difficulties under which Toulon was, even at 
this time, retained. 

A Lieutenant-general Valdez having arrived, since the 18th, 
to. succeed Eear-admiral Gravina, owing to the serious wound 
which the latter had received at the heights of Pharon, Admiral 
Longara, on the 23rd, wished Lord Hood to recognise the recent 
appointment by his catholic majesty of the lieutenant-general to 
the rank of "commander-in-chief of the combined forces at 
Tonlon.** This his lordship very properly resisted, averring, 
with truth, that Toulon and its dependeupies had yielded to the 
British troops alone ; and that, to command the latter, as well 


as the Sardinian and Sicilian troops, Major-general (yHara, 
then off the port, had already been appointed. 

By way of enforcing his demand, but under the pretence of 
shifting the berths of his ships, Don Juan de Langara placed his 
own three-decker alongside, and two other three-deckers, one on 
the bow, the other on the quarter, of the Victory, Lord Hood's 
flag-ship. At this time, be it known, the British fleet, by the 
departure of successive detachments, was reduced to ten sail of 
the line ; while the Spanish fleet still consisted of its original 
number, seventeen. Lord Hood's firmness, however, was not to 
be shaken, and matters remained in their former state. 

Finding the crews of his ship much weakened by the heavy 
draughts that had been made to assist in manning the various 
posts on shore, Lord Hood obtained from the grand master of 
Malta 1500 Maltese seamen, who stipulated, on being paid the 
usual wages of British seamen, to serve in the fleet during its 
continuance in the Mediterranean. On the 22nd Major-generals 
O'Hara and Dundas, the former with a commission to be 
governor of Toulon audits dependencies, arrived from Gibraltar ; 
the governor of which had unfortunately sent but 750, instead 
of 1500 men, the number required of him. 

Towards the end of October, or beginning of November, the 
third and last division of Neapolitan troops arrived at Toulon ; 
and the combined forces amounted to 16,912 men, as tl^e fol- 
lowing details will show : — 

Rank and File. 

French Royalists 1542 

Piedmontese 1584 

Neapolitans 4832 

Spaniards 6840 

British 2114 


Of this number, not more than about 12,000 were fit for duty ; 
the remainder were sick in the hospitals ; and of those fit for 
duty, 9000, or three-fourths, were necessarily distributed among 
the different posts on the extensive line of defence requisite to 
be maintained. 

With respect to the republican troops that were menacing 
Toulon, although it is not easy to get at their exact amount, a 
little industry will enable us to show that they more than 
doubled the number of the combined troops by which it had 
hitherto been defended. The unfortunate Lyonaise had, sipice 

VOL. I. Q 


the 9th of October, BTurendered to the republican General Kel- 
lerman, at the head of 60,000 troops; and the latter then 
marched away to co-operate with a part of the army of Italy in 
reducing Tonlon. Thus : ' ^ Une arm6e de soixante mille hommes, 
composee des troupes que Kellerman -a amends des Alpes, 
des gardes nationales des villes et des campagnes voisines de 
Lyon, et de cinq cents canoniers destines au service de cent 
pieces d'artillerie, est sous les murs, et n'attend que le signal 
pour foudroyer cette malheureuse ville." * " Le gouvemement 
enyoya vers Toulon, pour le rMuire, la m^me armee qui avait 
send k soumettre Lyon: on y joignit plusieurs divisions de 

Supposing that, between the 9th of October and the be- 
ginning of November, half only of EeUerman's army had arrived, 
and estimating the divisions, of the army of Italy at no more 
than 3000 men, there would be, before Toulon, at the last- 
mentioned date, 33,000 troops ; and these, not composed of five 
different nations, but of Frenchmen wholly. Since some time in 
October, General Dugonmiier had arrived from Paris, to take 
charge of the besieging army; having under him Generals 
Laharpe, Gamier, Lapoype, Mouret, and, though last not least. 
Napoleon Buonaparte. General Carteau appears to have been 

On the 15th of November, in the evening, a large corps of re- 
publican troops made a vigorous attack upon the British fort 
Mulgrave, situated on the heights of Balaguier, and one of the 
most essential posts around Toulon. : The first assault was 
directed against the right, where the Spaniards were stationed : 
these retreated, firing their muskets in the air. At this moment 
Major-general OUara, having arrived from on board the Victory, 
directed a company of the Koyals to advance. These instantly 
leaped the works, and put the enemy to the rout. The loss of 
the combined troops, in killed and wounded, amounted to 61 ; 
including, among the latter, Captain Duncan Campbell, of the 
Boyals, who had commanded the detachment, and Lieutenant 
Lemoine, of the Eoyal Artillery. The loss of the French was 
supposed to amount to 600, in killed and wounded. In three 
days after this, Lord Hood received accounts that the 6000 
Austrian troops, for whom, relying on the most positive as- 
surances of the British minister at Turin, he had sent a squadron 
of ships and transportfi to Vado Bay, could not be spared. This 
was a sad blow upon the hopes t)f the Toulonese. 

IDiotlomiaire Historique, tome ii., p. 563. ' Ibid., tome iv., p. 130. 


Greneral Dugommier, having chosen a poBition on the heights 
of Arenes, directly opposite to the fort of Malbousquet, caused 
20 pieces of cannon to be mounted upon it, and established his 
camp on the crest of another eminence, a short distance in the 
rear. These 20 pieces of cannon greatly annoyed the garrison 
of Malbousquet, endangered the arsenal that was contiguous to 
it, and threw some of their shells into the town: it was therefore 
resolved to try and bring away or destroy them. 

For this service a corps of 400 royalist French, 600 Spaniards, 
600 Neapolitans, 300 Sardinians, and 300 British, total 2200,* 
under the command of Major-general Dundas, on the morning 
of the 30th, marched from Toulon. With great difficulty the 
men ascended the heights, but, when there, succeeded at once 
in forcing the enemy to retire from his guns. Instead of fonur 
ing on this summit, the troops, led on by their impetuosity, de- 
scended to the hollow in its rear, hoping to be able to carry the 
next eminence, it being that to which the enemy, on being driven 
from his battery, had precipitately fled. Here the combined 
forces encountered the main body of Dugommier's army, and 
were compelled, not only to fly in their turn, but to relinquish 
the battery which their valour had won, and which a moderate 
share of discretion would have enabled them to hold, imtil, at 
least, its guns were carried off or destroyed. 

The loss of the combined forces in this unfortunate attack was 
severe; particularly on the part of the British, whose returns 
exhibited a list of 20 killed, 90 wounded, and 98 missing ; more 
than two-thirds of the number which they had brought to the 
attack. Among the wounded prisoners was, unfortunately, the 
Grovemor of Toulon himself, according to whose excellent plan 
the attack had been made. General 0*Hara did not, however, 
ascend to the battery until he knew it was in the possession of 
his friends ; and, on witnessing the disorder of the troops, could 
not refrain from using his efforts to rally them. In attempting 
this he was wounded. Two soldiers supported him, until the 
bleeding of his wound, which otherwise was not dangerous, 
induced the general to order them to quit him, and save them- 
selves. General Dugommier was himself wounded in the kne« : 
what other loss the French sustained in this affair does not 

No sooner had thje last-expected reinforcement joined the te- 

> Yet, say the French writers, ''Les par $ix mille Jiommet, kc."—Dict. Biat^ 
AMi^es firent une grand* sortie le 30 tome iv., p. 132. 
Novembre. La riviere de I'As fut passee 


publicans, than a council of war decided that a general attack 
should be forthwith made upon the fortifications and town of 
Toulon.* The report of deserters that the French force 
amounted, early m December, to between 40,000 and 50,000 
men, was probably withm, rather than beyond the truth : while, 
on the other hand, what with casualties and sickness, the com- 
bined forces could not assemble 11,000 firelocks ; and two-thirds 
of these, as stated before, were distributed along a line of de^ 
fence 15 miles in extent. 

On the night of the 14th, in the midst of a storm, the French 
marched from their encampments in three columns, each column 
taking a route leading to a different point of the line of posts ; 
so that their attacks might be simultaneous. By 2 a.m. on the 
16th the besiegers had erected five batteries in front of Fort 
Mulgrave, and continued to bombard the works, with consider- 
able eff*ect, until 2 a.m. on the 17th ; when, in the midst of dark 
and tempestuous weather, they succeeded in entering the fort 
by the Spanish side, and, after an obstinate but fruitless resiRt- 
anco on the part of the few surviving British, headed by Captain 
Conolly of the 18th regiment,^ compelled the remnant of the 
garrison (originally not more than 700) to retire towards the 
shore of Balaguier. 

While these operations were going on in this quarter, the 
column under General Lapoype succeeded in forcing all the posts 
upon the mountain of Pharon. Thus was the line of defence 
broken in upon in its two most essential points : and the ships 
in the harbour, and the town itself, overawed by the very 
cannon which had been mounted for their protection. Most of 
the ships, indeed, were compelled to unmoor, and retire to a 
safer position. 

Things thus situated, a council of war was immediately held, 
composed of the following officers : — Lord Hood, Admiral Lan- 
gara, Bear-admiral Gravina, Major-general Duridas, Lieutenant- 
general Valdez, Prince Hgnatelli, Admiral Forteguerri, Sir 
Hyde Parker, Chevalier de Bevel, and Sir Gilbert Elliot. At 
this council it was, after a most deliberate discussion, unani- 
mously resolved that Toulon should be evacuated, as soon as 
proper arrangements could be made for that purpose; that 
orders should be sent to the troops occupying the redoubt, and 
the Lunette of Pharon, to retire to the posts of Artigues and St. 

• Dictionnalre Historique, tome Iv., p. ci, prfesde eyerie fruit de taut detravaux, 
. 133. refoivent un renioTU"—IHct. Mist., tome 

* "La resistance des Anglais ^gale le iv., p. 134. 

ge opin&tre des Franfais, quand ceox- 


Catherine's, and to maintain them as long aa possible; that 
orders should also be sent to the posts of Great and Little 
Antoine, St. Andrd, Pomet, and the Mills, to retire ; thai the 
posts of Malbousquet and Mississi should be held as long as 
possible; that the committee-general should make the neces- 
sary arrangements for informing the inhabitants of the intended 
evacuation, and that they should receive every possible assist- 
ance ; that the sick and wounded should be embarked without 
delay ; that the French ships of war which were armed, should 
sail out with the fleet ; and that those which remained in the 
harbour, together with the magazines and the arsenal, should 
be destroyed ; and finally, that measures should be taken on the 
same night (the 17th), if possible, for that purpose, but that such 
resolution' was not to be put into execution till the last moment. 

Admiral Langara undertook to deliver the necessary direc- 
tions for destroying the ships in the basin ; and also to scuttle 
or sink the two powder-vessels ; which contained all the powder 
belonging, as well to the French ships as to the distant maga- 
zines, now within the enemy's reach. 

The troops were withdrawn from the heights of Balaguier, 
without much interruption from the enemy ; as were likewise 
the troops from the other posts, deemed necessary to be at once 
evacuated. The purposed retention of the forts of Malbousquet 
and Mississi was, however, prevented, in consequence of the 
Neapolitans at the latter, which ^was the supporting-placei 
having abandoned it without orders. Such a panic, indeed, had 
seized the Neapolitan troops, during the sitting of the council, 
that they, one and all, deserted their posts, and were seen 
stealing on board their ships in great confusion and disorder. 
In the course of the 18th the remaining troops were all concen- 
trated in the town and at fort Lamalgue, ready to embark the 
moment the conflagration of the shipping should announce that 
it was time to complete the evacuation of the port. 

The important service of destroying the ships and magazlnea 
was intrusted, at his own particular request, to Captain Sir 
William Sidney Smith ; who, about a fortnight previous, had 
arrived from Smyrna in a small lateen-rigged vessel, which he 
had purchased and named the Swallow, and had manned with 
about 40 English seamen thrown out of employment at that 
port. Accordingly, on the same afternoon, taking with him 
the Swallow tender, three Spanish, and three English gun-boats, 
Sir Sidney proceeded to the arsenal, to prepare the combustible 
matter required for the occasion. The dook-yard gates had beei^ 


judiciously closed and secured; but the people belonging to 
them had already substituted the three-coloured for the white 
cockade. The galley-slaves, in number 800, were, for the most 
part, unchained, and seemed to view with the eyes of freemen 
the devastation that was about to be committed on the national 
property. Upon these men the guns of the tender, and of a 
gun-boat, were forthwith pointed ; and they remained quiet. 

During this period, shot and shells, from Malbousquet and 
the neighbouring hills, were falling around ; and, although oc- 
casioning no material interruption to Sir Sidney's little party, 
tended, very happily, to keep in subjection the slaves, as well 
as in their houses the republicans belonging to the town. As 
night approached, the enemy, in great numbers, descended the 
hill, and opened a fire, both of musketry and cannon upon the 
British : this was replied to, by discharges of grape-shot from a 
gun-boat, advantageously moored. 

About 8 P.M. the Vulcan fireship, Captain Charles Hare, 
towed by the boats, entered the basin, and was placed, in a 
masterly manner, across the tier of men of war ; her guns, 
which were all well shotted, being pointed in the direction best 
calculated to keep the enemy in check. At 10 p.m. the trains 
leading to the different magazines and storehouses, were, on a 
preconcerted signal, ignited ; as was the fireship, although, by 
the accidental bursting of the priming, her commander nearly 
lost his life. 

The fiames ascended in terrific grandeur ; and the Vulcan's 
gnns, on being heated, discharged their contents, for the last 
time, against the enemies of their country. The rapid spread of 
the fire, while it almost overpowered, by its heat, some who 
knew no danger in their duty, laid open to view, by its light, 
all who were aiding in the doubly perilous service. The enemy, 
having now distinct objects to point at, opened his batteries 
from every quarter ; when, suddenly, a tremendous explosion, 
unexpected by all, awed into silence both the besiegers and the 

Again the heavy firing commenced, and the painful discovery 
was made that the Spaniards, in their premature retreat from a 
Service which they had omitted to perform, had, instead of 
scuttling, set fire to, the Iris frigate, which contained several 
thousand barrels of powder. The explosion tore the Union 
gun-boat to atoms, and killed three of her crew, including the 
principal ofiicer: a second gun-boat was blown into the air; 
but, very providentially, all the crew were picked up alive. 


The business at the arsenal completed, Sir Sidney and his 
brave followers proceeded towards the basin, in front of the 
town, in order to effect what the Spaniards had reported im- 
practicable ; but, in the mean time, the bottom had been laid 
across the narrow entrance, and the British were received with 
snch repeated volleys of musketry, as compelled them to aban- 
don the enterprise. They then proceeded to destroy two 748 
lying in the inner road, filled with French prisoners. These 
had hitherto evinced a disposition to resist ; but the conflagra- 
tion around them, and particulaiiy the late awful explosion, 
induced them to accept, with thanks, Sir Sidney's offer to land 
them in a place of safety. This was rather a hazardous under- 
taking, as the prisoners were by far more numerous than the 
British : it was, however, efi^ted ; and the Heros and Themi- 
stocle contributed their share to illumine the magnificent scene. 

Having now effected as much as they were able, and more 
than, considering how ill they had been seconded, and how ob- 
stinately opposed, could possibly have been expected from them. 
Sir Sidney and his little party were preparing to rejoin their 
friends outside, when a second poWder-vessel, the firigate Mon- 
treal, exploded close to them, with a concussion greater even 
than the first. The tender and the three boats, although with- 
in the sphere of the falling timber, which made the jvater foam 
around them, received, extraordinary as it may appear, not the 
slightest injury. 

Exhausted in strength, so much so, indeed, that the men fell 
upon their oars, the British «tood slowly out towards the fleet ; 
heeding little, after their last narrow escape, the few ill-directed 
shot that were fired at them from forts Balaguier and Aiguilette. 

As well as we can cotlect from the official accoimts published 
on the subject, the following were the British naval officers who 
accompanied Sir Sidney Smith in his perilous imdertaking. 
Captains Charles Hare and William Edge ; Lieutenants Charles 
Tupper, John Gore, John Melhuish, Eichard Holloway, Matthew 
Wrench, Thomas F. Kichmond, Ealph Willett Miller, John 
Stiles, Charles Dudly Pater, Robert Gambler Middleton, Henry 
Hill, Joseph Priest, James Morgan, and Francis Cox ; master, 
George Andrews; surgeon, William Jones; midshipmen, John 
Eales, Richard Hawkins, Thomas Cowan, William Knight, 
Henry Matson, Paul H. Valliant, and Mr. Young, who was 
killed. Among the officers wounded in Fort Mulgrave on the 
17th, we find th« name of Lieutenant Thomas Goddard and 
Midshipman John Wentworth Loring. ' 



The commencement of the conflagration of the shipping had 
been the signal for eyacnating the town ; and, under the able 
management of Captains Elphinstone, of the Eobust, late 
governor of Fort Lamalgne, Hallowell, of the Leyiathan, and 
Matthews, of the Couragenx, the whole of the troops em- 
barked, and were on board the fleet by daylight on the morning 
of the 19th, without the loss of a man. What then must we 
think of an account which states thus? — ^* L'axri^re-garde 
ennemie, taillce en pieces et poursuivie avant d'atteindre ses 
vaisseaux vers lesquels elle fnyait, tombe et p^rit dans la mer." ^ 
The Eobust was the last ship that quitted the harbour ; and, 
although fired at repeatedly, was not struck by a shot. 

The Oourageux having, in consequence of getting aground 
off Cape Corse, been hove down in the basin, was warped out 
without any rudder. The rudder, however, was afterward^ 
brought ofi", slung alongside the launch and other boats, and 
was shipped in the road. The British fireship, Conflagration, 
which appears also to have been undergoing some repairs, could 
not be got away in time, and, in order that she might not fall 
into the hands of the enemy, was burnt. 

Although the land is not the element on which seamen are 
expected to shine, the exigency of the case required that a 
great proportion of them should act on shore at Toulon. 
Whether as artillerists in the batteries, or musketeers in the 
field, they contributed their aid, always with cheerfulness, and 
never without effect. Their skill and bravery in action, not less 
than their strength and activity in the many laborious duties 
incident to a service so full of difficulties and dangers as the one 
they had engaged in, afforded a theme of praise and admiration 
to all who had seen their exertions and witnessed their un- 
daunted courage. 

Those who recollect (and who can forget ?) the massacres 
that stained republican France will be gratified to learn, that 
14,877 men, women, and children, of the loyal Toulonese, re^ 
oeived an asylum on board the British ships, The Princess 
Eoyal, of 98 guns, bearing Eear-admiral Goodall's flag, had on 
board, at one time, 4000, and the Bobust 3000, of these unhappy 

But melancholy was the fate of those left behind. Many, in 
their way to the shore, were cut in two by the balls which were 
falling around them ; others, overcome by their fears, fancied 
the hurried steps they heard behind were those of their pu]> 

1 Dictionnaire Historiqiie, tome It., p.l3A. 




suers ; and some rushed, preferring instant death to infuriated 
vengeance, with their infants clinging to their breasts, into the 
waves and perished. Some thousands of others remained in the 
town, in the hopes that their age, sex, or political insignifi- 
cance, would shield them from the bayonets of the soldiers, 
their countrymen. Vain hope ! — a decree of the Committee of 
Public Safety had doomed the whole of them to destruction ; * 
and the Toulonese deputies, Freron, and Moyse Bayle, worthy 
of such masters, were not to be moved by the entreaties even 
of Dugommier himself. 

The speech of this general deserves to be recorded : " Depu- 
ties doubtless there were in this town, traitors who delivered it 
to the English ; but the most criminal among them have fled. 
If there be any guilty men who have been so bold as to await 
the national vengeance, time will point them out; they will 
suffice to establish your justice as well as to appease the animo- 
sities which civil war produces. If you punish to-day, every 
passion will select its victims. Look at this town, deserted and 
laid waste 1 Whom would you immolate ? Old people, women, 
and children, who never bore arms against us ?" * 

As a proof of the slight effect produced by this address of the 
French general, the monster Frdron, in a letter to his colleague, 
dated January 1, says ; " We have required from the surround- 
ing departments 12,000 masons to demolish and raze the city. 
Every day since our arrival we have cut off 200 heads." Of 
the total number of ill-fated Toulonese who were massacred by 
their republican countrymen no record has been preserved, or 
at least none has appeared in print. We are not, however, 
wholly without the means of judging, for the French writers 
say that when the British entered Toulon the town contained 
28,000 souls, and that in a few weeks after the British quitted 
it there were but 7000 left. 

Therefore, taking the number that escaped on board the 
British fleet at 15,000, we may consider that at and during a 
few weeks subsequent to the recapture of Toulon, nearly 6000 

1 " Ainsi les troupes rdpublicaines en- 
trerent yictorieuses dans Toulon, le 23 
D^mbre, 1793. La mort de tous ses 
habitans fnt ordonnde par le comite de 
salut public, avec la demolition de la 
ville:'— Diet. Hist., tome iv., p. 136. 

* " RepresentanPy sans doute 11 y eut 
dans cette ville des traltres qui I'ont 
livr^ aux Anglais ; mais les plus grands 
conpables ont fui. S'il est des hommes 
criminels qui ayent ose attendre la ven- 

geance nationale, le terns vous les feim 
connaitre; lui seul peut eclairer votre 
justice, et calmer les haiues qu'enfantent 
les guerres civiles. Si vous punissez au- 
jourd'bui. toutes les passions choisiront 
leurs vie times. Voyez cette ville d^rte 
et desolee ! Qui allez-vous immoler? Deg 
vieillards, des femmes, et des enfans, qui 
ne porterent Jamais les arroes centre 
nous."— /Wet. Hiit., tome Iv., p. 136, 




of the wretehed inhabitants, men, womeu, and children, perished 
by the Bword, musket, or guillotine, or plunged into the sea and 
were drowned in their endeaTOOTB to escape from the demoniac 
rage of an infuriated soldieij.' 

It is now time to see what were the.uational advantages, in a 
military point of view, which were lost to France or gained to 
England b; the seizure of Toulon. The French vessels that 
were in the port when the British entered were, according to 
the ofBcial accounts of the time, disposed of in the manner ex- 
plained in the following table : — 

Di^ond qf the Ships and Veaaels that composed 
Toahm, August 28, 1793. 

the Frtnch F<yrce at 










Burnt, or oU.erwI»c df Elroyed . . 








■ 'i 

( Iwt to (i. Frendi .... 







- *e 




i| I, 

The fourteen T4s described in this table as burnt are meant 
to include one that was on the stocks; and the first two 40-gun 
frigates were also building. The fife 748 represented as left to 
the French at Tonlon include the Alcide, stated to be " unfit for 
Bervice," but which ship was afterwards in an engagement at 
sea. The Alcide, and three of the four remaining T4e, namely, 
the Oenseur, Qnerrier, and Souverain, as well as the Dauphin- 
Boyal (afterwards Saus-Culotte) 120, and Languedoc (afterwards 
Tictoire) 80, had been intrusted to the Spaniards to bum ; but 
the latter (treacherously as it would appear) left them untouched, 
and in possession of the French. 

Information of a date subsequent to tbat of the ofScial 
despatch lessened the number of vessels supposed to have been 
destroyed. The fire had not reached, or at least not materially 
injured, the 80-gun ship Tonuant, nor the Heureux, Oommerce- 

> Time tb* net or Ibe iroopg wu u In. 
1^ Che following Kiecdole : " Rem cenB 

f^disr, foreat Impliojableiiunt muu. 


de-Bordeaux, Meroure, and Oonqu^rant, 748; neither did the 
74, nor either of the two frigates on the stocks, take the fire to 
any extent. Both these frigates, one named Minerve and the 
other Jusfcice, were launched in September, 1794. The 74-gun 
ship was launched about the same time; her name was not, 
however, as generally supposed, Spartiate, but Barras. The 
frigates Serieuse, Courageuse, and Iphig^nie, and the brig 
Alerte also escaped unhurt. With respect to the buildings on 
shore, it was afterwards ascertained that the grand magazine 
had escaped the ravages of the flames, fche smaller storehouses 
only having been consumed. 

The powder-ships Iris and Montrdal had been British fri- 
gates ; the latter, of 681 tons, was captured by the French in 
1779 ; the former, of '730 tons (originally an American frigate), 
in 1781. There had been at Toulon a third captured British 
frigate, the Eichmond, of 664 tons ; but she was sold or broken 
up a few months before the British entered the port. 

In a French navy-list presented to the National Convention 
in the preceding March, many of the frigates at Toulon are 
described as old and unserviceable ; their destruction or capture, 
therefore, was not of any material consequence to either party. 
Of the fifteen ships brought off by the English, few were worth 
much to their new masters. The Perle and Ar^thuse were fine 
frigates, and so was the Topaze. Scarcely any of the smaller 
vessels reached a British port but to be condemned or laid up. 
Even the Puissant 74 did not quit Portsmouth after she arrived 
there ; and that superb and powerful ship, the Commerce-de- 
Marseille, never sailed forth as a cruiser in the service of 
England. , 

This ship measured 2747 tons. As the Oommerce-de-Mfitt*- 
seille was the largest, so was she the most beautifnl ship that 
had hitherto been seen ; and, notwithstanding her immense size, 
sailed and worked like a frigate. Her force was precisely that 
of the 120-gun ship in the table at p. 59, except that none of 
the ships at Toulon appear to have yet received any carronades. 
Captain Brenton (vol. iii., p. 153) is therefore decidedly wrong 
in giving the Commerce-de-Marseille long 18-pounders on the 
upper deck, and long 12s on the quarter-deck and forecastle ; 
her upper works, indeed, were almost too flimsy to bear 12s 
and 8s, the establishment of her class. 

The Pomp^e 74 was a remarkably fine ship of 1901 tons, 
and long remained (she was not broken up until 1817) an orna- 
ment to the British navy. The Scipion, also, would have been 


an acqniBition ; bat in November, while ^ing at anchor in Leg- 
horn Roada, she oaaght fire and blew np; happily, however, no 
lives were lost Most of the French ^ps brought off from 
Tonlon were manned wholly (eicept as to having one British 
lieutenant) hj French rojalietB. M. Farrand, who commanded 
the PiuMant, received from tbe British government, for hie gal- 
lant behaviour in defending his ship against the republican bat- 
teries, a pension of 200f. a year. 

The following recapitulary table exhibits an amended account 
of the manner in whioh the 58 French vsbeoIb, which Lord Hood 
in his despatch states to have been in the road and harbour of 
Toalon when he arrived there in Angnst, were disposed of at 
the ovacnation of the port in the succeeding December :— 

Amended Statement of the Toulon Force, at Lord Hood's Evacuation 
of the Port, DeceuAer 18, 1793. 




la t»i««. 





Vb; tbe AUlei 



T«al . J loBtlotUe French .... 




The frigate Alceste, the single one in the table described as 
fitted ont by the allies, fell to the share of the Sardinians, by 
whom she waa despatched on a cruise. In May, 1794, the 
Alceste encountered the French 36^pn frigate Boudense, and, 
after a long and well-fought action, was recaptured. The four- 
teen 74s left to the French include of course the four sent to the 
Atlantic ports with the refractory seamen. 

Important as was the possession of Toulon, both to the com- 
merce and the arms of Great Britain, the preceding details have 
shown that the place was uot abandoned until every effort, on 
the part of the British at least, had been exerted for its pre- 
servation. The extended circumference of the works, their tem- 
porary and detached natnro, the comparative paucity of the 
ganison, and its mnltifarions and discordant character, rendered 
the whole of the defensive operations peculiarly critical and 
hazardous. Tet, like other entetprises of fUr promise but un- 


fortxinate issue, the proceedings at Toulon were found fault with 
in every stage. The port should have been entered by force of 
arms, and not by a convention with the disaffected inhabitants ; 
the captured ships should have been manned and sent to 
England ; the town garrisoned by troops upon whom a reliance 
could be placed ; and such of the ships and stores as could not 
be brought away at the final abandonment of the port should 
have been wholly, not partially, destroyed. 

What could 21 ships of the line with two regiments on board 
effect against a large and populous town guarded by 21 ships 
of the line in the port (the four that were -fitting are included, 
as, although not ready,to proceed to sea, they might have acted 
in defence of the harbour) and by formidable land-batteries at 
all the flanking points of a narrow entrance ? The main object 
was to render the French ships useless to the republic, and that 
was done by the convention which agreed to their qualified 

Was not Lord Hood, on the very day he was allowed to enter 
the road of Toulon, joined by a Spanish fleet as powerful as his 
own ? And, admitting the Toulonese had, would Don Juan de 
Langara have consented that the French ships should be sent 
to England ? Where were to be found men to navigate the prize 
ships ? Lord Hood was compelled, as it was, to hire 1500 Mal- 
tese seamen to fill up the deficiencies in his own ships' com- 
panies ; nor, with the King of Spain for an ally, would it have 
been politic in the British admiral to have reduced his force to 
any great extent below that of Don Juan de Langara. It was 
not possible to foresee the disgraceful defection of the Spanish 
and Neapolitan troops, nor the refusal on the part of the Em- 
peror of Austria to send the promised 6000 men from Milan. 

With respect to reinforcements from England, the capture of 
Toulon was not known until September ; and then, such was 
the variety of expeditions on foot, and so remote the distance 
from Toulon, that a sufiicient body of troops could scarcely have 
been assembled in time to have reached the spot previously to 
the evacuation. The destruction of the ships and magazines 
might certainly have been more complete ; but here again the 
treachery of the Spaniards, and the pusillanimous flight of the 
Neapolitans, thwarted the plans of the British ; and the only 
surprise is, that the latter, hurried and pressed as they were, 
effected as much as they did. 

During the time that Toulon remained in possession of the 
allied forces, a very formidable insurrection existed in Corsica, 


and General Faoli, the leader of the insnrgent party, sought the 
aid of the English, assuring Lord Hood that even the appear- 
ance of a few ships of force off the island would be of the most 
essential service to the popular cause. 

Accordingly, in the month of September, a squadron, com- 
posed of the following line-of-battle ships and frigates, sailed 
from Toulon for Villa-Franca : — 


., . , /Commodore Robert Linzee. 

^^jAJciae \ Captain John Woodley. 

Courageux . . • • • „ John Matthews. 

64 Ardent ...... „ Robert Manners Sutton. 


32 Lowestoffe • . • . • „ William Wolseley. 

28 Nemesis •..••. », Lord Amelius Beauclerk. 

On his arrival off the latter port, Commodore Linzee, in con- 
formity to the orders he had received, sent a letter on shore, 
containing the account of the restoration of monarchy at Toulon, 
as well as copies of the proclamations that had been addressed 
by Lord Hood to the inhabitants of the south of France. To this 
communication no answer was returned. The commodore then 
stood across to the island of Corsica, and showed his force off 
Calvi and San-Fiorenzo ; meeting from the respective inhabi- 
tants no better reception than he had experienced at Villa- 
Franca, except that a few of the mountaineers came down and 
were supplied, at their request, with muskets and ammunition. 
His offers did not persuade, nor his force intimidate, the garri- 
sons ; although accompanied by an assurance that the latter, if 
desirous, should be conveyed to France. 

The orders of the British commodore, in the event of a refusal 
on the part of the garrisons, were to attempt their reduction by 
force ; or, should that appear too hazardous, to invest the places 
with his ships, and starve the inhabitants into a compliance. To 
blockade three such ports as Calvi, San-Fiorenzo, and Bastia, 
with three line-of-battle ships and two frigates, was impracti- 
cable ; but Commodore Linzee, having been led to believe that 
the batteries of San-Fiorenzo could not, on account of the dis- 
tance, co-operate with the tower and redoubt of Fomeilli, situ- 
ated about two miles in advance of the town, conceived he 
might make an advantageous attack by sea on that formidable 

It being necessary, previously to an attack upon Fomeilli, to 
get possession of a tower that commanded the only secure 


anchorage in the golf of San-Fiorenzo, the Lowestofife and 
Nemesis frigates were detached upon that service. As soon as 
the Lowestoffe, which in working up to Cape Mortella had got 
far to windward of her consort, arrived within gunshot of the 
tower, she opened a fire upon it ; then stood out, and, on tack- 
ing in again, repeated the fire. Just as the third broadside was 
about to be bestowed, a boat was seen to quit the shore, and 
pull in the direction of the town of San-Fiorenzo. Captain 
Wolseley immediately despatched ,two boats, with Lieutenants 
John Gibbs and Francis Charles Annesley and 30 men, to take 
possession of the tower. 

The British landed without opposition; and, although the 
ladder leading to the entrance, which was by an opening about 
20 feet up the wall of the building, had been carried off by the 
fugitives, the seamen, by means of some spars found on the spot, 
managed to gain admission. Three long guns, one 24 and two 
18 pounders, were found mounted at the top of this extraordi- 
nary tower (named Mortella, after its inventor), but the powder 
had all been thrown into the well. On observing the Lowe- 
stoffe's success, the Nemesis bore away to the commodore with 
the intelligence, and the squadron soon afterwards entered the 
bay and came to an anchor. Owing, however, to some unex* 
plained cause. Commodore Linzee delayed his attack on For- 
neilli until the garrison had made such preparations as com^ 
pelled him to submit to a defeat in the manner we shall proceed 
to relate. 

After failing, owing to the variableness of the wind, in re- 
peated attempts to near the shore, the Ardent, during the night, 
warped herself into a situation from which she could not only 
annoy the redoubt, but cover the remainder of the squadron in 
its approach. On the 1st of October, at 3 h. 30 m. a.m., the 
Ardent opened her fire. At 4 a.m. the Alcide advanced to her 
station, but getting too close to the Ardent, and being em- 
barrassed by an unexpected flaw of wind, was with difficulty 
towed clear of some dangerous rocks. In the meanwhile, the 
Courageux pushed under the Alcide's 'stem, and covered her 
from the fire of the redoubt ; against which, both the Courageux 
and Ardent kept up an unremitting fire. Soon afterwards the 
Alcide gained a station from which she could act ; but, although 
the three ships continued their efforts until 8 h. 15 m. a.m., no 
visible effect was produced on the redoubt. The commodore 
therefore made the signal to discontinue the attack, and the 
three ships hauled out of gunshot. 


At this time the Couragenx and Ardent, having been unex- 
pectedly opposed to a raking fire from the town of San-Fiorenzo, 
had borne the brunt of the action (the former had been four times 
on fire by hot shot), were a good deal damaged, and had sus- 
tained a loss, the one, of her first-lieutenant (Ludlow Shiells) and 
one seaman (in the act of cutting a red-hot shot out of the ship's 
side) killed, and her second-lieutenant (William Henry Daniel) 
and 12 seamen wounded ; the other, of one midshipman (John 
Martin) and 13 seamen killed, and 17 seamen wounded. The 
Alcide, having failed in her efforts to close, had sustained but a 
slight damage in hull, masts, or rigging. A 24-pound shot fell 
into the cutter as she was towing the ships clear of the rocks, 
and went through the bottom^ but did not hurt a man. Soon 
afterwards, a red-hot shot stinck the Alcide's ninth lower-deck 
port from forward, carried it away, came in on the lower deck, 
broke the sweep, and fell on the after-grating. One of the 
sailors, with a wet swab, took it up, and threw it overboard. The 
Alcide's loss amounted to only nine seamen wounded, three of 
them mortally. The enemy's force consisted of one 4, two 8, and 
thirteen 24-pounder guns, nine of which were mounted at tlie 
town, and six heavy mortars. The failure was attributed partly 
to a mistake as to the range of those nine 24-pounders, and to a 
want of co-operation on the part of General Paoli's adherents, 
who had undertaken, simultaneously with the attack from the 
sea, to storm the posts from the land ; but the chief cause of the 
failure, undoubtedly, was the tardiness of Commodore Linzee in 
commencing the attack. 

While the British fleet lay at Toulon, Lord Hood occasionally 
sent small detachments in quest of the remaining ships of the 
Toulon fleet, still, according to information received, cruising in 
the Mediterranean seas. On the morning of the 5th of October 
the British 74-gun ships Bedford, Captain Bobert Mann, and 
Captain, Captain Samuel Keeve, with the 14-gun brig-sloop 
Speedy, Captain Charles Cunningham, arriving on this mission 
off the port of Grenoa, discovered lying within the mole the 
French 36-gun frigate Modesto, likewise two armed tartans, 
vessels that generally carry two long 12-pounder8 as prow-guns, 
and two long 6-pounders abaft, with a complement of about 
70 men. 

The French factions at Leghorn and Genoa, by their sway 
over the inhabitants, having entirely changed the character of 
those ports, and repeated remonstrances on the subject having 
been made in vain by Lord Hervey, the British minister at 


Leghorn, it was resolved, by a council of British naval officers, 
that, notwithstanding the assumed neutrality of the port, they 
would seize the French frigate and tari:ans. 

Accordingly the ships stood in, and the Bedford warped her- 
self close to the frigate. Early in the afternoon, she having 
veered her cable, dropped close alongside of, and boarded the 
Modesto. The crew, 275 in number, making some opposition 
to the striking of their colours, were fired on by the Bedford's 
marines, and lost, in consequence, one man killed, and eight 
wounded. Several of the French sailors leaped overboard, but 
were saved by the boats of the Captain, as she approached the 
frigate on the opposite side. 

The Speedy's boats, in the meanwhile, boarded the two 
tartans, one of which, being strongly manned, slightly resisted ; 
whereby her principal officer and one of her seamen were 
wounded. None of the British were hurt in either attack. The 
Modesto and tartans were brought safe off, and the frigate was 
purchased for the use of the British navy. 

It being ascertained that another French ship, the 38-gun 
frigate Imperieuse, was lying in Spezzia bay, situated about 
a degree to the eastward of Genoa, the Captain 74 proceeded 
thither in search of her. On the afternoon of the 11th tjie 
Captain reached the entrance of the cove in which the Impd- 
rieuse had run for shelter, and, early on the following morning, 
the 12th, was towed in and moored close to the French frigate, 
as well as to the battery of Santa Maria. At 8 a.m. the Captain's 
boats, without any opposition from the fort, boarded and took 
possession of the frigate, which they found had been scuttled 
and abandoned by her crew. In the course of that and the 
following day, the British succeeded in weighing the Imperieuse ; 
and the latter, under the name of Unit^ (there being an Impe- 
rieuse already in the service), became a fine 36-gun frigate in 
the service of her captors. 

Light Squadrons and Single Ships, 

Although Brest, Lorient, Eochefort, and Toulon, until the 
recent enlargement of Cherbourg, were the only ports in which 
France usually did, or perhaps conveniently could, construct and 
equip her ships of the line, yet there were many other ports, 
such as Havre, Cherbourg, St. Male, Nantes, Bordeaux, and a few 
others, from which she sent out, singly, and in squadrons, 
frigates of a very superior class to make reprisals upon the 

VOL. I. 'SL 


commerce of her enemies, and prevent, if possible, any similar 
depredations upon her own. From those ports, also, issaed forth 
innumerable private-armed vessels ; some of which, belonging to 
Bordeaux, equalled frigates in size and force. It is under the 
head of " Light (that is, frigate) squadrons and single ships," 
that we purpose to notice, as far as our researches will enable 
us, every case, in which vessels, other than a fleet pf line-of- 
battle ships (their movements falling under a preceding head), 
meet and engage ; or between which, from the relative situation 
of the parties, as to force and other circumstances, an action 
might reasonably have been expected. Deeming it unnecessary 
that the locality, or site, of the different encounters should in- 
terfere with their chronological order, we shall, in this head of 
narrative, take the date only as our guide. 

On the 13th of March, the British 16-gun brig-sloop Scourge, 
Captain George Brisac (but mounting then only eight G^pounders, 
with a crew of 70 out of her complement of 90 men and boys), 
being a few leagues to the westward of Scilly, fell in with, and 
after a three hours* action captured, the French privateer Sans- 
Culotte, of 12 guns (eight long 8-pounders, and four English 
carronades, 12-pounders), with a complement of 81 men; of 
whom nine were killed, and 20 wounded, the Scourge escaping 
with only one man killed, and one wounded. 

England herself appears to have been the first to commence 
active operations on shore, in the war declared against her by 
France. Early in the month of March, 3000 of the foot-guards, 
imder the command of His Royal Highness the Duke of York, 
were sent to assist, conjointly with a large body of Hanoverians 
and Hessians, the loyal portion of the inhabitants of Holland in 
expelling the French from their country. Fortunately for our 
labours, we have only to record so much of the details as will 
exhibit a successful instance of the gallantry of British seamen. 

On the night of the 15th of March, a detachment from the 
crew of the British 32-gun frigate Syren, Captain John Manley 
(who commanded the small squadron that formed the naval 
part of the expedition), lying at anchor at the Maese, oflf the 
Dyke, embarked, under the orders of Lieutenant John Western, 
on board of three gun-boats, and, taking advantage of the calm 
and fog that prevailed, pulled across to the French forts, five in 
number, which had been erected to bombard Willemstadt, a 
fortress situated on a small island in the Hollands Diep, about 
30 miles east of Helvoetsluys. So animated and destructive a 
fire was kept up by the British, that their force became trebled 


in the eyes of the French, and the latter abandoned their works 
and fled. 

The Governor of Willemstadt, the brave General Count Boetze- 
laer, having had no intimation of the intended attack in his 
behalf, was surprised at the firing, and received Lieutenant 
Western on his landing the next morning with heartfelt thanks. 
The latter, in the course of the day, was gratified at seeing the 
Dutch soldiers enter the town, with the cannon which he and 
his little party had compelled the French to abandon. 

On the 21st, as this enterprising young officer was in the act 
of levelling one of the 12-pounders in his gun-boat, against the 
enemy's intrenched camp at the Noord post on the Moordyke, 
a musket-ball passed through his head. On the 24th the Duke 
of York attended the remains of Lieutenant Western (the first 
British officer, as it appears, who lost his life in the war) to the 
church of Dordrecht, and ordered a monument, with a suitable 
inscription, to be erected to his memory. 

The subsequent events of the year, in Holland and the Nether- 
lands, were wholly of a military nature ; except that, on the 
Slst of October, a British squadron, composed of two frigates, a 
sloop, and a floating- battery (the Kedoubt, mounting twenty 
68-pounder carronades), under the orders of Eear-admiral John 
Macbride, in the 32-gun frigate Quebec, successfully co-operated 
with a detachment of the British army, commanded by General 
Sir Charles Grey, in expelling the French from the important 
posts of Ostende and Nieuport, and compelling them to retire 
upon Dunkerque. 

Painful would be the task of recording an interchange of 
destructive firing between two ships of one and the same nation : 
it is not, however, to confirm, but to contradict, a statement of 
the kind, that the names of two English ships are here introduced. 
A work, which, being ostensibly written by a naval officer, ought 
to be of very high accreditation on naval subjects, contains the 
following statement : ** On the night of the 11th of April (1793), 
the Bedford, of 74 guns. Captain Eobert Mann, and Leopard, of 
50 guns, Captain John Maude, fell in with each other off Scilly : 
the night being extremely dark, they either mistook or did not 
distinctly see each other's signals, and commenced a smart 
action. Unfortunately, the mistake was not discovered until 
several men were wounded on both sides."^ 

The fact is, that neither ship was off Scilly on the night in 
question ; nor were the two ships within several hundred leagues 

1 Scbomhergf vol. ii., p. 231. 


of each other. Neither did they at any other time, or at any 
other place, exchange a shot. It is ascertained, also, that the 
Bedford, and it is believed that the Leopard, never had such an 
accident befal her. Moreover, no traces can be found of any 
two English ships of war having met and engaged, out of which 
a statement, so discreditable to both, could possibly have arisen. 
On the 14th of April, in latitude 41° 43' north longitude 26® 
west, the British squadron under Bear-admiral Gell, already 
mentioned as bound to the Mediterranean, and which consisted 
of the 


no oi. n _^ r Rear-admiral (b.) John Gell, 

98 bt. George . | ^^^^ Thomas Foley, 

(Ganges • , „ Anth. Jas. Pye Molloy, 

Edgar • . „ Albermarle Bertie, 

Egniont • . „ Archibald Dickson, 

38 Phaeton . . „ Andrew Snape Douglas, 

chased two sail in the north-west. The frigate soon overtook 
one of them, which proved to be the San-Iago, a large Spanish 
galleon, under French colours. Dropping a boat as she passed, 
the Phaeton left this vessel to be taken possession of by the 
Ganges, then coming up, and stood on in pursuit of the head- 
most enemy's ship. At the end of two hours the latter was 
also captured, and proved to be the French privateer General- 
Dumourier, of 22 long 6-pounders and 196 men, convoying to a 
port of France the richly-laden ship, which, eleven days before, 
her commander and crew had considered themselves so fortunate 
in having fallen in with. 

For greater security, the Dumourier had since transhipped to 
herself 680 cases, containing each 3000 dollars, together with 
several packages, of the reputed value, in the whole, of upwards 
of 200,000Z. sterling. The galleon was from Lima, bound to 
Spain, and had on board a cargo of an immense value. Both 
the Dumourier and San-Iago arrived, before the end of the 
month, in safety at Plymouth; and the latter ship and her 
precious lading, after a tedious litigation, were condemned as 
prize to the captors. This condemnation of a recaptured ship, 
however it might have been legally correct under the peculiar 
circumstances of the case, caused a great stir at Madrid, and 
was one of the principal; ca'«jes of the war which afterwards 
l»*oke out between Great Britain and Spain. 

On the 13th of May, at 6 p.m., latitude 42° 34' north, and 
longitude 13° 12' west, the British 12-pouuder 32-gun frigate 




Iris^ Captain George Lumsdaine, while standing to the south- 
ward, with the wind at north-north-east, discovered a strange 
sail in the north-east quarter. The Iris immediately hauled to 
the wind, and gave chase. At 6 p.m. she hove-to for the strange 
ship, which appeared to be a French national frigate. At 
6 h. 30 m. P.M. an action commenced, and continued, without 
interruption, until 8 p.m. ; when the Citoyenne-Frangaise, as the 
stranger proved to be, hauled on board her fore and main tacks, 
and shot ahead, clear of her opponent's guns. At 8 h. 15 m. p.m., 
just as the Iris was about to make sail in pursuit, her foremast, 
main topmast, and mizenmast went over the side. On seeing 
this, the Citoyenne-Fran^aise, whose masts, though much cut 
by shot, were all standing, hauled to the wind, and escaped. 

After a contest in which neither ship had been captured, each 
usually parts in uncertainty as to the name, if not the force, of 
her late antagonist. Sucli was the case here. On the arrival 
of the Iris, in five days afterwards, at Gibraltar, it was reported 
that the ship which she had engaged was the French 36-gun 
frigate Medee, belonging to Toulon. The plausibility of the 
statement having gained it credence at Gibraltar, sent it, stripped 
of every mark of doubt, to England. Here it appeared in the 
London journals as a positive fact, with the addition, that the 
Medee had arrived, in a shattered state, at Bordeaux.^ Cap- 
tain Schomberg, also, in his ** Naval Chronology" (vol. ii., 

1 Class E in the first Annual Abstract. As the force of British fKgates will be 
frequently referred to, we have here drawn np a table of the long guns establie^ed upon 
the different classes, preserving the same letters of reference as are used in the Annual 

Glass in the Annual 

Main Deck. 

Qr. deck. 




No. Pds. 

No. Pds. 

No. Pds. 

Z. and A, . 

38 gun f^. 

28 18 

6 9 

4 9 



£. and C. . 


26 „ 

6 „ 

4 „ 



D. \ , . 

»» »» 

26 12 

6 6 

4 6 



E. and F. . 


26 18 

4 9 

2 9 



<?. andJa: • 

n » 

26 12 

4 6 

2 6 



/. . . . 

28 „ 

24 9 

4 » 




It will be remarked that classes Z. A. and C. have ten 9s upon their quarter-deck and 
forecastle, instead of eight 9s and two 12s, as in the first Annual Abstract. The fact is, 
the 12s were exchanged for 9s soon after they were ordered. This, however, is of little 
consequence, as the introduction of carronades effected an entire change in the quarter- 
deck and forecastle armament of aUnost every ship in the British navy. 

* A large drawing in oil was made of 
the action, and one of the combatants is 
the French " frigate M^d^." Had the 
pictnze not rema^bed in the possession of 

the gentleman for whom it was taken, the 
windows of the different print-shops in the 
metropolis would have given additional 
currency to the mistake. 


p. 253), has introduced the action of the Iris and M^d^e, as one 
about the existence of which there never had been the slightest 

It nowhere appears in the French journals, that the Med^e 
had any engagement in 1793, or ever anchored in the Eiver Bor- 
deaux : she was either in, or on her way to the West Indies. 
On the other hand, the letter of a citizen Vincent represents, 
that on the same day, hour, and place, as, according to the Iris's 
log, that ship engaged a French frigate, the Citoyenne-Fran^aise, 
a French frigate also, except as to ownership,* engaged an Eng- 
lish Mgate, mounting the same number of guns as the Iris. The 
two accounts agree tolerably well, as to the duration of the action, 
and the relative position in reference to the wind, of the com- 
batants. Nor is it very difficult to conceive, that citizen Eigal 
should have mistaken the Iris's marines, in their red coats, for 
" troops ;"2 nor that citizen Vincent, when ready to commit to 
paper the oral communication of citizen Eigal, should write 
♦*beauprd" instead of "mat d*artimon." Moreover, the Cito- 
yenne-Frangaise did actually arrive at Bordeaux in a shattered 
state, as was said of the Iris*s opponent. Under all the cir- 
cumstances, therefore, we may consider it as proved, beyond a 
doubt, that the Citoyenne-Fran^aise, and not the M^dee, was 
the ship engaged by the Iris. 

Out of 217 men and boys (admitting her net complement to 
have been on board), the Iris lost four seamen killed, her first- 
lieutenant, master (Mr. Magee, mortally), and 30 seamen and 
marines wounded. The complement of the Citoyenne-Fran^aise 
could not have been less than 250 men and boys ; of whom she 
appears to have lost Captain Dubedat, and 15 officers, seamen, 
and marines, killed, and 37 wounded. The ship, it is probable, 
had been one of the 32-gun frigates sold out of the French ser- 
vice at the reduction in 1783 ; several of which carried 12 and 
8 pounders on the main deck, and measured from 800 to 850 
tons : the Iris measured 688 tons. 

Coupling, with so equal a force as evidently existed between 
these two frigates, the extent of the damage and loss sustained 
by the British frigate, we must admit that the officers and crew 
of the French ship deserve credit for the precision of their fire. 
Had they been as resolute in continuing, as they were bold in 
commencing, the action, the crippled state of the Iris renders it 
doubtfrd on which side victory would have ultimately perched. 

1 The one belonging to the nation ; the * See Appendix, No. 7. 

other to a private mdividnal. 




The aflfair not reaching that crisis, the Citoyenne-Frangaise* 
hauled up, singly, for the nearest French port, and the Iris re- 
sumed her course before the wind ; the latter much indebted, no 
doubt, to a continuance of the favourable weather for arriving 
in safety at Gibraltar, the port of her destination. 

Our the 27th of May, at about 1 a.m.. Cape Finisterre bearing 
south, 58° east, distant 125 leagues, the British 12-pounder 32- 
gun frigate Yenus, Captain Jonathan Faulknor, and the French 
36-gun frigate S^millante, mounting 40 guns,^ Captain Gaillard, 
descried each other. At 3h. 30m. a.m. the Yenus tacked; 
and at 4 a.m.. the Semillante, having bore down to reconnoitre 
the stranger, passed to windward of her. The Semillante soon 
afterwards hoisted a blue flag on the mizen-peak, and fired two 
guns to leeward, in quick succession. Upon this, the Yenus 
hoisted her colours, and returned a shot to one which the Semil- 
lante had just before fired to try her adversary's distance. At 
4 h. 30 m. A.M. the Semillante tacked for the Yenus, who kept 
her wind, and carried sail to get the weathergage ; but the former, 
unwilling to give up that advantage, also kept her wind. At 

7 h. 30 m. A.M. the Semillante fired a few random shot, and at 

8 A.M. dropped nearer to the Yenus ; when the latter opened 
her €j*e, and a warm cannonade ensued. The two ships gra- 
dually neared each other until 10 a.m., when they were scarcely 
half a cable's length asunder. 

The Semillante, by this time, had lost her first and second 
of&cers, and had her masts, yards, sails, rigging, and hull much 
damaged by shot ; and her guns, for the last half-hour had made 
no return to the vivid fire kept up by the Yenus. In this state, 
the SdmiUante, very naturally, strove to disengage herself from 
the combat. On observing her opponent's intention, the Yenus 
trimmed her sails as well as she was able, and, ranging up along- 
side, gave the Semillante a well-shotted broadside ; then dropped 
a little astern, and was in the act of again shooting a-head to re- 
peat her fire, when she discovered to leeward a large ship under 
French colours. The Semillante, as if recognizing the stranger, 
bore up to join her ; while the Yenus, whose cross-jack yard, 

1 Thfi ship's naine does not again ap- 
pear, except as having eaptared a British 
merchantman towards the end of 1794. 
She is then called " la fregate la Citoyenne 
Fran^se." — Moniteur, 12 Dec 1794. 
lliis strengthens the supposition that she 
had once belonged to the national marine. 

' Armed precisely as No. 7 in the table 
lU p. 59. In fbe first edition of this work 

we had classed all these ships as 32-gmi 
frigates, according to their original deno- 
mination in the French service ; but, find- 
ing that almost every one of them at the 
commencement of the war of 1793 took on 
board four additional 6-ponnders, these 
ships here stand classed as 363 ; in which 
we are borne out by most of the lists 
published in ftench woito. 


gaff, and main rigging, were entirely shot away, and whose 
maats, yards, sails, and rigging in general were much cut and 
injured, hanled as close to the wind as her crippled state wonld 
permit. Thus ended the action ; and at that moment, accord- 
ing to the testimony of the master of an English merchantman, 
who was then on board the S^millante, the latter had five feet 
water in her hold. 

As a British 32-gmi frigate, the Yenus was an anomaly in 
point of armament, mounting 24 instead of 26 long 12-ponnder8 
on the main deck ; which, with eight long 6-pounders and six 
carronades, IS-pounders, on the quarter-deck and forecastle, gave 
her a total of 38 guns. Her complement, excluding the Widow's 
men, was 231, fourteen more than the establishment of her class. 
Not having a marine on board, and being 20 seamen short, the 
Venus commenced action with only 192 men and boys. Of these 
she had two seamen killed, her master, and 19 seamen wounded. 
The loss on board the Semillante (whose force has already been 
stated), out of a crew of at least 300, amounted to 12 officers, 
seamen, and marines, killed, and 20 wounded. 

Some accounts represented the Yenus's opponent to have been 
either the Engageant or the Proserpine ; the one a 12, the other 
an 18 pounder frigate.^ But such statements, however plausible, 
rested on no better foundation than rumour. A letter, extracted 
from the Moniteur of Jxme 8, 1793, identifies the S^miUante, 
beyond all doubt, as the ship engaged by the Yenus.^ 

Comparative Force of the Combatants, 


Broadside-guns . . • • I lu 

Crew No. 

Size tons 








Making some allowance for the disparity in point of crew, we 
may consider these as a tolerably well-matched^ pair of com- 
batants; and it undoubtedly was a well-fought battle. Had 
the second French ship (for, although the French commander's 
letter mentions no strange vessel, yet the fact being noted in^the 
log-book of the Yenus, does not admit a doubt), and which ship 
was subsequently ascertained to have been the 36-gun frigate 

1 Schombei^'s Naval Chronol., vol. iL, Captain Faulkner or his brave crew, by 

p. 232, and Gold's Naval Ciironicle, vol. L, the statement above ; the French threw a 

p. 219. heavier broadside by 57 lbs., had 108 men 

* See Appendix, No. 8. more than the English, and the Semillante 

* In calling these ships wellmatched, was the more powerful ship by 220 tons I 
Mr. James does not do ample justice to — Editor, 

1793.] HT^NA Aim CONCORDE. 105 

Cleop§.tre, Captain Jean Mullen, delayed her appearance for 
about half an hour, the probability is, that the Semillante, hav- 
ing suflfered most in the action, would have become the prize of 
the Venu^. The Cleopatre crowded sail after the latter ; but 
the Yenus being far to windward, and having a smooth sea and 
aj commanding breeze, got clear off; rejoining, at 3 p.m. on the 
29th, her consort, the 36-gun frigate Nymphe, from whom, two 
days previous to the action, she had parted company in chase. 

The following account of the meeting between the HysBua and 
Concorde is extracted from Captain Schomberg's naval work: 
'' In May, the Hyaena, of 24 guns, and 160 men, commanded 
by Captain William Hargood, being on a cruise off Hispaniola, 
fell in with La Concorde, French frigate, of 40 guns and 320 
men. After a severe and spirited conflict, in which the Hyfisna 
was dreadfully shattered, her first-lieutenant, and many of her 
crew, killed and wounded. Captain Hargood was obliged to 

The Hyaena being a ship of no more than 522 tons, mounting 
twenty-two long 9-pounders on her main deck, and two long 
6-pounders, and six or eight ill-constructed useless carronades, 
12-pounders, on her quarter-deck and forecastle, with a comple- 
ment (she being on the peace establishment) of only 120 men 
and boys, while the Concorde was a regular French 40-gun 
frigate, mounting, like No. 5 in the table at p. 59, 44 guns in 
all, an obstinate resistance, on the part of the former, would have 
reflected the highest honour on the ofi&cers and crew of the 
British vessel ; but, unfortunately. Captain Schomberg's account 
is erroneous in all the more important particulars. The circum- 
stances of the case were these. On the 27th of May, early in 
the morning, when about* two miles off Cape Tiburon, the 
Hyaena was discovered and chased by the Concorde, the ad- 
vanced frigate of a French squadron, composed of the Eole and 
American 74s, and three or four frigates, some of which then, or 
very soon afterwards, were in sight from the Hyaena's masthead. 
As soon as she discovered the character of her pursuers, the 
Hyaena put before a light air of wind, but, being unable to make 
way against a heavy head sea, was rapidly gained upon. As 
the Concorde approached her on the quarter, the Hyaena fired a 
few of her main-deck guns, and then, without waiting, it would 
appear, to receive any fire in return, hauled down her colours to 
the French frigate. 

1 Schomberg, vol. ii., p. 257. 




On the 11th of October, 1793, on board the Cambridge 
goardship, in Hamoaze, Captain Hargood and his officers were 
tried hj a court-martial, and honourably acquitted ; the sentence 
stating, that " every means had been used to prevent the Hyaana 
firom being captured." In the first edition of this work, it was 
not mentioned that the Concorde was the advanced ship of a 
squadron. Two circumstances led to that omission : the neglect 
of Sir William Hargood to transmit the promised " particulars of 
the action and cause of the capture of his Majesty's ship Hysena," 
and the very imperfect information furnished by a subordinate 
at a public office, even after he had received from his chief the 
most positive directions to make a full extract from the official 
document in his charge. 

On the 17th of June the British 12-pounder 36-gun frigate 
Nymphe, Captain Edward Pellew, sailed from Falmouth on a 
cruise. Having, in his way up the Channel, arrived nearly 
abreast of the Start point. Captain Pellew ran out to the south- 
ward in the hope of falling in with one of the two French 
frigates which, a week or two before, the Nymphe and Venus 
had chased into Cherbourg, and which were known to be the 
CldopA,tre and Semillante, already noticed in the action between 
the latter and the Venus. On the next day, the 18th, at 3 h. 
30 m. A.M., the Start point bearing east by north, distant five or 
six leagues, a sail was discovered in the south-east quarter. At 
4 A.M. the Nymphe bore up in chase under all sail ; the stranger, 
which, by a singular coincidence, was the French frigate Cldo- 
patre, carrying a press of canvas, either to get away or to prepare 
for action. 

At 6 A.M., finding that the Nymphe had the advantage in 
sailing, the Cldopteo hauled up her foresail and lowered her 
topgallantsails, bravely awaiting the coming up of her opponent. 
At about 6 A.M., the Nymphe approaching near, the Cleopatre 
hailed her ; but Captain Pellew, not hearing distinctly what was 
said, replied only by the usual **Hoa! hoa!*** an exclamation 
instantaneously followed by three cheers from the crew of the 
Nymphe. Captain Mullon, upon this, came jto the gangway, 
and, waving his hat, exclaimed, " Vive la nation !" and the crew 

1 Osier, In bis life of Captain Pellew 
(the first Lord Ezmouth), gives the fol- 
lowing account of this extraordinary ren- 
contre : •• At six o'clock the ships were so 
near that the captains mutually hailed. 
Not a shot had yet been fired. The crew 
of the Nymphe now shouted * Long live 
King George, and gave three hearty cheers. 

Captain Mullon was seen to address his 
crew briefly, holding a cap of lit>erty, 
which he waved before them. They an- 
swered with acclamation, shuuting, • Vive 
la rdpublique.' The cap of liberty was 
then given to a sailor, who ran up the 
main rigging and screwed it on the mast- 


of the Cleopsttre, at the same time, put forth a sonnd which was 
meant for an imitation of the cheers of the British. 

At 6h. 15 m. A.M., the Nymphe having reached a position 
from which her foremost guns would bear on the starboard 
quarter of the Cleopatre, Captain Pellew, whose hat, like that 
of the French captain, was still in his hand, raised it to his head, 
the preconcerted signal for the Nymphe's artillery to open. A 
furious action now commenced, the two frigates still running 
before the wind, within rather less than hailing distance of each 
other. At about 6 h. 30 m. the Cleopatre suddenly hauled up 
eight points from the wind ; and, before 7 a.m., her mizenmast 
(about 12 feet above the deck) and her wheel were shot away. 

In consequence of this double disaster the French frigate, at 
about 7 A.M., paid round oflf, and shortly afterwards fell on 
board of her antagonist, her jib-boom passing between the 
Nymphe's fore and main masts, and pressing so hard against the 
head of the already wounded mainmast, that it was expected 
every instant to fall ; especially as the main and spring stays 
had both been shot away. Fortunately, however, for the 
Nymphe, the jib-boom of her adversary was carried away and 
her own mainmast preserved. 

After this, the two frigates fell alongside, head and stem, 
but were still held fast, the Cl^opatre's larboard maintopmast- 
studdingsail boom-iron having hooked the larboard leech-rope 
of the Nymphe's maintopsail. Here again was danger to the 
mainmast. In an instant a maintopman named Burgess sprang 
aloft and cut away the leech-rope from the end of the main- 
yard ; and, as an additional means of getting the ships apart, 
Lieutenant Pellowe, by Captain Pellew's orders, cut away the 
best bower anchor. 

During these important operations no relaxation had occurred, 
on the part of the British at least, in the main purpose for which 
the two ships had met. Soon after they had come in contact in 
the manner we have related, the CldopS-tre was gallantly boarded 
by a portion of the Nymphe's crew ; one man of whom, at 7 h. 
10 m. A.M., hauled down the republican colours, after the action 
had continued 60 minutes.^ The firing now ceased, and it was 
just' as the last of 150 prisoners had been removed into the 
Nymphe that the two ships separated.^ 

1 Captain Pellew, in a letter to his curacy, and leaves the reader to imagine 

brother, says, ** We dished her up in 50 that it was not till long after the Cleopatre 

ininutes." had run stern on to the Nymphe that she 

* Mr. James has not given the account was boarded and carried by the English. 

of this acUon with his accustomed ao- Mr. Osier, whose work is compiled fnm 




In order to render more intelligible our details of the 
manoeuvres of the combatants in this celebrated Mgate-action, 
we here subjoin an explanatory diagram : — 

7 A.M. 


Cleopft.tre , 



The Nymphe mounted the same main-deck guns as B, in the 
table at p. 101, with two long 6-pounders and eight carronades, 
24-pounder8, on the quarter-deck and forecastle ; total, 40 guns. 
The loss on board the Nymphe was tolerably severe. Out of a 
crew of 240, men and boys, she had her boatswain (Tobias 
James), one master's mate (Richard Pearse), three midshipmen 
(Greorge Boyd, John Davie, and Samuel Edfall), 14 seamen, 
and four private marines killed, her second-lieutenant (George 
Luke), two midshipmen (John A. Norway and John Plaine), one 
lieutenant of marines (John Whittaker), 17 seamen, and 6 private 
marines wounded ; total, 23 killed and 27 wounded. 

The loss on board the Cleopatre, in killed and wounded toge- 
ther, out of a crew, as certified by her surviving officers, of 320, 
men and boys, amounted to 63. Among the wounded were in- 
cluded the ship's three lieutenants, and among her killed was 
the truly gallant Captain Mullon. A round shot had torn open 
his back and carried away the greater part of his left hip. It 
is related that, having the list of coast-signals adopted by the 
French in one of his pockets,^ Captain Mullon, during his short 

Lord Exmouth's own notes, gives the fol- 
lowing account: "The Cleopfttre (from 
the loss of her mizen-mast and wneel) 
being thus rendered unmanageable, came 
round with her bow to the Nymphe's 
broadside, her jib-boom pressing hard 
against the main-mast Captain Pellew, 
supposing that the enemy were going to 
board, ordered the boarders to be called 
to repel them ; but the disabled state of 
the Cl^op&tre was soon evident, and he at 
once gave orders to board her. Imme- 
diately the boarders rushed on the fore- 
castle, a division of them, beaded hy Mr. 

Ball, boarding through the main-deck 
ports, fought their way along the gang- 
ways to the quarter-deck. The repub- 
licans, though much superior iu numbers, 
could not resist the impetuosity of the 
attack. At 10 minutes past 7 they had 
all fled below or submitted, and the pen- 
dant of the Cl6opStre was hauled down." 
— Osier's Life of Uxmouth, p. 85. 

1 Osier mentions that this gallant 
French officer took out his commission by 
mistake, and expired in the act of devour- 












agonies, drew forth a paper, which he imagined was the right 
one (but which really was not), and died biting it to pieces. 
Here was a trait of heroism 1 And yet no French writer, as far 
as we can discover, has recorded the fact. 

Comparative Force of the Combatants, 

Broadside-guns , • • { lu * 

Crew • No. 

Si2e ..•.•• tons. 

The. Cleopatre was armed the same as her classmate. No. 7, 
in the table at p. 59, except in having 28 instead of 26 long 12s, 
and eight instead often long 6 -pounders. 

The British vessel, according to this statement, possessed, in 
aggregate weight of metal, a trifling superiority offeree ; but in 
number of men she was a fourth inferior. If length of service 
and nautical experience are to be taken into the account, the 
,odds were in favour of the Cleopatre, her crew having been 
upwards of a twelvemonth in commission, while the crew of the 
Nymphe had been very recently assembled, and that without any 
opportunity of selection. Still, the numbers 50 and 63 for the 
killed and wounded of the two crews show that in practical 
gunnery they were nearly upon a par; and both combatants 
displayed throughout the contest an equal share of bravery and 

. On the 21st the Nymphe arrived at Portsmouth with her 
prize, and on the 29 th Captain Edward Pellew, along with his 
brother. Captain Israel Pellew, who happened to be on board 
the Nymphe during the action, were introduced by the Earl of 
Chatham to George III. His late majesty was thereupon pleased 
to confer on one brother the honour of knighthood^ and on the 
other the rank of post-captain. The Nymphe' s first-lieutenant, 
Amherst Morris, received also from the Board of Admu-alty 
the step that was his due ; and the second and third lieutenants, 
George Luke and Richard Pellowe, appear likewise to have dis- 
tinguished themselves. The Cleopatre, being a fine little Mgate, 
was purchased by the British government ; and, under the name 
of Oiseau (a Cleopatra being already in the service), became a 
cruising 36 of the 12-pounder class. 

1 It is seldom we read in a Paris news- enlev^ demidrement la superbe fir^gate 1 

paper a paragraph announcing the capture Cleopfttre. Elle a 6t/S prise par une fregat 

of a French ship of war, couched in such d'^le force." — AbrMaUMr Universe 

tetms as these: **Les Anglais nous ont Jnillet 16, If 93* 




Towards the end of July the British 12-pounder 32-gun 
frigate Boston, Captain George William Augustus Courtenay, 
cruised off New York, in the hopes of intercepting the French 
36-gun frigate Embuscade,^ Captain (de vais.^) Jean-Baptiste- 
Fran^ois Bompart, lying at anchor in that harbour ; and who 
during her last cruise had captured or destroyed upwards of 60 
British vessels. On the appearance of the Boston off the port, 
Captain Bomparte mistook her for the Concorde, a frigate under 
his orders then cruising in those seas. He accordingly sent his 
first-lieutenant (a Bostonian by birth) and a boat's crew of 12 
men, with orders to the commander of the supposed Concorde to 
proceed immediately in quest of a certain pirate-ship, and, on 
capturing her, to hang the whole crew. As he approached the 
Boston, the American doubted, from the neat appearance of her 
rigging, whether or not she was a French ship : he lay on his 
oai's awhile, until the master of a pilot-boat that had come 
alongside assured him she was a French man of war, he having 
passed under her stem and seen none but French sailors on 

The fact is, that Captain Courtenay, desirous to deceive both 
the French captain and the Americans (whose communicative- 
ness he knew) as to the national character of his ship, had 
placed upon the quarter-deck those among his officers and crew 
that spoke a little French ; and the loud jabbering of these, as 
they hung over the taffrail, produced its full effect upon the 
Americans in the pilot-boat. Lieutenant Whitynow, satisfied 
that the ship in sight was the one he was in search of, pulled 
straight towards her, and, with his men, was made a prisoner. 

On Captain Courtenay's expressing to the lieutenant of the 
Embuscade a desire to meet that ship at sea, the latter assured 
him of Captain Bompart's readiness to accede to his wishes, and 
promised that, if Captain Courtenay would allow him to write 
to his captain by the pilot-boat then in sight, the Embuscade, 
in the course of a few hours, should be outside the Hook. This 
was done, and Captain Courtenay sent at the same time a verbal 

1 Armed precisely as No. 1 in the table 
at p. 59, ejccept in having two instead of 
four brass carronades. The Embuscade 
has been described (Brenton's Nav. Hist., 
vol. i., p. 460) as a •' French frigate of the 
large class, or what was called an 1 d-pound 
ship." Captain Brenton's mistake, as we 
shall heres^ter show, arose from the inac- 
curacy of an oflBcial despatch. 

* It appears necessaiy to mark this dis> 
tinctioD, it not being ciutoinaiy in the 

French as in the British navy, to assign 
one order of captains to the command of 
post-ships and another to the command of 
sloops of war. With the French, a " capi- 
taine de vaisseau," or captain of a ship of 
the line, frequently, as in the case of M. 
Bompart, commands a frigate; but it is 
not the general practice (indeed we are 
not aware of an instance, except occasion^ 
ally in a flag-ship) for a " capitaine de 
fir^te" to comniand a ship of the lixi/t. 


message to Captain Bompart, propoBing to meet the Embuscade, 
and stating that the Boston would wait for her three days. 
The pilot-master, being scrupulous about delivering the message, 
caused a written copy of it to be posted up in one of the public 
coffee-rooms of the city. It soon reached the French captain ; 
and the Embuscade, after a council of the officers had been 
called, got under weigh, and stood out to sea. 

On the afternoon of the 30th, while the Boston was anxiously 
awaiting the expected rencontre, 12 sail appeared in the south- 
east ; and which, according to the report of the Embuscade'B 
lieutenant, were a French squadron of two 74-gun ships (Eole 
and America), four frigates, and six corvettes, bound to New 
York from Port-au-Prince, but last from the Chesapeake. At 
sunset they were distant about ten miles, and soon afterwards 
disappeared from the Boston, who at this time was about four 
leagues off the Long Island shore. The presence of a formidable 
French squadron was not very flattering to Captain Courtenay's 
hopes, let his combat end as it might; however, he stood 
pledged to give the meeting, and was resolved, as we shall pre-' 
sently see, not to degrade the flag under which he served. 

On the 31st, at 3 a.m., a ship, apparently large, was descried . 
coming down before the wind, in the direction of north-east by 
east. The Boston immediately cleared for action. At 3 h. 30 m. 
A.M. the strange ship passed about three miles and a half to 
windward, making signals with false fires. At 3h. 60 m. a.m. 
the ship was discovered to be a frigate, under French national 
colours. The Boston now hoisted the same colours ; whereupon 
the stranger ran up at her i)eak a blue flag with a white cross, 
and thus made herself known as the Embuscade. 

At 4 A.M. the latter wore to the eastward, and the Boston set 
her mainsail ; as did also the Embuscade. At 4 h. 45 m. a.m. 
the Boston tacked, hauled up her mainsail, hauled down the 
French, and hoisted English colours ; and was passed by the 
Embuscade, at about a n^ile and a half distance. At 5 a.m. 
the Boston again tacked ; when the Embuscade bore up, and at 
5 h. 5 m. a.m. ranged along the former's larboard and weather 
side. The Boston thereupon fired her larboard guns; which 
were promptly answered by the starboard ones of the Embus- 
cade, as the latter lay with her main topsail to the mast. The 
Boston then wore, and, on coming to on the starboard tack, laid 
her main topsail to the mast also ; and an animated fire was 
kept up by both ships. At this time the high land of Never- 
sink, in the Jerseys, bore north-west, distant four leagues. 


At 5 h. 20 m. a.m. the cross-jack yard of the Boston was shot 
away ; and at 5 h. 45 m. a.m. her jib and foretopmast staysail, 
with the stays themselves, as well as all the braces and bow- 
lines, met the same fate; consequently, she had no farther 
command of those sails. At 6 h. 10 m. a.m. her maintopmast, 
and the yard with it, fell over on the larboard side, and the 
mizen derrick was shot away. At 6 h. 20 m. a.m. Captain 
Conrtenay, and Lieutenant James Edward Butler, of the marines, 
while standing at the fore-part of the quarter-deck, were killed 
by the same cannon-ball. At this time, too, the mizen, mizen 
topmast, and mizen staysail were shot away; the mizen-mast 
was also expected, every moment, to go by the board, and the 
only two lieutenants, John Edwards and Alexander Robert Kerr, 
were below, wounded; the latter with the temporary loss of 
sight in one, and with total blindness in the other, of his eyes, 
and the former by a contusion in the head, which rendered him 
senseless. At 6 h. 40 m. a.m., finding that the crew were in 
some confusion for the want of officers to give orders, Lieu- 
tenant Edwards, although still suflfering greatly from the stun- 
ning effects of his ^wound, came on deck, and took command of 
the ship. 

At 6 h. 40 m. a.m. the Embuscade dropped a little astern, 
with the view of putting an end to the battle at once, by a 
raking fire ; and which the Boston, having no use of her sails, 
with difficulty wore round in time to avoid. On coming to on 
the larboard tack, the Boston could pot use many of her guns, 
because the wreck of the main topmast lay over them. Thus 
circumstanced, with her principal officers dead or disabled, the 
British frigate put before the wind, under all the sail she could 
set ; and at 7 h. 7 m. a.m. the Embuscade, who, to all appear- 
ance, was nearly as crippled as herself, fstood after her. At 
8 A.M., however, when about four miles off, the French frigate 
brought to with her head to the eastward, and was soon lost 
sight of by the Boston. 

Besides the long-gun establishment of her class, as particu- 
larised at E, in the table at p. 101, the Boston mounted six of 
those useless monhey-taUed 12-pounder carronades ; making her 
guns in all 38. Her net complement was 217 men and boys; 
but, having sent away in a prize her third-lieutenant and 12 
seamen, she had actually on board no more than 204. Out of 
this number, she lost her gallant commander, the lieutenant of 
marines, and eight seamen and marines killed, her two remain- 
ing lieutenants (already named), one master's mate, two ^mid- 


Bhipmen (whose names we are unable to give), and 19 seamen 
and marines (the chief of them badly) wonnded ; total, 10 killed ' 
and 24 wounded. 

The Embnscade was armed like her class-mate, No. 7, in the 
table at p. 59, except in having but two instead of four carron- 
ades. Her established complement was not above 280 or 300 ; 
but Captain Bompart, while lying in New York, had augmented 
the number to 340, and his ship's company, for effectiveness, 
for exceeded the generality of French crews of the same nu- 
merical strength. Deducting the 13 absentees on board the 
Boston, 327 remain: out of which number, according to the 
New York papers of the day, the Embuscade had 50 killed and 

Comparative Force of the Combatants, 

Broadside-guns • . • { lu * 

Crew •••,••. No. 
.Size • tons 

This long and close-fought action was viewed, from beginning 
to end, by crowds of American citizens, standing on the Jersey 
beach. The superior size of the Embuscade attracted the notice 
of every one ; and few among the spectators, on observing the 
Boston haul off, were so prejudiced as not to admit that, to all 
appearance, the British frigate had no hopes left of bringing the 
combat to a favourable termination. That the Boston had not 
neglected any means of doing so, will appear by the following 
account of the quantity of powder and shot expended by her in 
the action : — 











Powder . , 36 half-barrels 
Round shot, 12 and 6 pounders 842 
Grape shot in cases . . .72 
Case shot 70 

Double-headed shot ... 50 

Musket balls 500 

Pistol balls 150 

Cartridges, in all • . . • 474 

Although none of the Embuscade's masts fell during the con- 
test, on her arrival at New York the French frigate had to take 
all of them out ; and her yards, rigging, and hull must also have 
been considerably injured, or the Embuscade, doubtless, would 
have continued the chase, in order to consummate her victory. 
The Embuscade lay at New York, from the 2nd of August to 
the 9th of October, getting in her lower masts, and repairing 
ihe damages she had sustained by the Boston's fire. 

The Boston, after losing sight of the Embuscade, had a very 

VOL. I. I 


narrow escape. She was about entering the Delaware to refit 
in that river, when the pilot gave information, that two French 
frigates (believed to have been the Concorde and Inconstante) 
were lying at anchor opposite Mnd Fort. No time was to be 
lost, and the British frigate, discharging the pilot, hauled up for 
St. John's, Newfoundland; where, on the 19th, the Boston 
arrived in safety. 

On account of the acknowledged gallantry of Captain Courte- 
nay in the engagement with the Embascade, the late king was 
pleased to settle on his widow a pension of 500?. and on each of 
his two children 50/. per annum. Captain Bompart, some time 
after his return to New York, was also rewarded for his good 
conduct, by being appointed to the Jupiter 74, recently arrived 
from St. Domingo. 

The following is the account of the death of Captain Courte- 
nay, as it appears in a contemporary work: ** The action soon 
began, and continued with great bravery on both sides, until 
the iron hammock-rail of the quarter-deck being struck by a shot, 
a part of it took Captain Courtenay on the back of the fieck, 
and he fell, but no blood followed : the first-lieutenant caused 
the body to be immediately thrown overboard, lest, as he said, 
it should dishearten the people ; and after this precaution, hauled 
away from the enemy, who had no inclination to follow him." * 
All we can say to this extraordinary statement is, that our 
account was taken chiefly from the Boston's log-book, and that 
we have not the least reason, from subsequent inquiries, to 
believe it to be incorrect. The of&cer. Lieutenant John 
Edwards, thus severely treated, after acting a short time in 
command of the Pluto sloop, whose commander, the present 
Vice-admiral Sir James Nicoll Morris, had been posted into the 
Boston, resumed his station on board of the latter, went to 
England in her in extreme ill-health from his contusion, was 
made a commander on the 22nd of June, 1795, and died as such, 
from the effects of his old wound, on the 15th of January, 1823 ; 
the very month, if not the very day, on which the book, con- 
taining this serious charge against him, both as all officer and a 
man, appeared before the public. 

About the middle of October, tlie British 18-pounder 36-gun 
frigate, Crescent, Captain James Saumarez, sailed from Spithead 
on a cruise. Having received information that two French 
frigates, stationed at Cherbourg, had made several valuable 
captiures, and that one of them usually quitted the port in the 

1 Brenton, vol. iL, p. 461. 


evening, stood across the Channel dnring the night,, and returned 
the next morning, with what prizes she had picked np, Captain 
Saumarez, on the night of the 19th, ran close oflf Cape Barfleur, 
and there awaited the frigate's return. 

Just as the day dawned the Crescent, standing on the larboard 
tack, with the wind off shore, descried a ship and a large cutter 
coming in from the seaward : she immediately edged away for 
the two strangers, and, in a little while, ranged up on the lar- 
board and weather side of the ship, which was the French 
36-gun frigate Reunion, Captain Frangois A. D^nian. 

A close and spirited action now ensued, in the early part of 
which the Crescent lost her foretopsail yard, and soon afterwards 
her foretopmast ; but, putting her helm hard a-starboard, she 
came suddenly round on the opposite tack, and brought her 
larboard guns to bear. The Reunion, by this time, had lost her 
foreyard and mizentopmast, and became exposed, in conse- 
quence, to several raking fires from the Crescent. After a brave 
resistance of two hours and ten minutes, by which time she was 
utterly defenceless, the Reunion struck her colours ; a measure 
the more imperative, as the British 28-gun frigate Circe, Captain 
Joseph Sydney Yorke, which, during the greater part of the 
action, had laid becalmed about three leagues off, striving her 
utmost to get up, was now approafching. The cutter, which was 
believed to be the Esperance, mounting 12 or 14 guns, had 
made off as soon as the firing commenced, and escaped into 

Both ships were a good deal damaged in their sails and rig- 
ging; and the Reunion, besides losing her foreyard, mizentop- 
mast, and maintopgallantmast, had several shots in her lower 
masts, and a still greater number in her hull. Almost the only 
shot that entered the Crescent's hull struck the apron, and set 
fijre to the priming of the forecastle 9-pounder on the opposite, 
or unengaged side i which, going off, discharged its contents in 
the direction of some gun-boats coming out of Cherbourg. 

The Crescent's main deck armament was that of her class, as 
given at C, in^he table at p. 101, and her quarter-deck and fore- 
castle guns were not, as we formerly stated, 14, but eight car- 
ronades, 18-pounders, and two long 9-pounders, total 36 guns. 
Out of her 257 men and boys in crew, the Crescent had not a 
man hurt by the enemy's shot ; but, in the very first broadside, 
one of her seamen had his leg broken by the recoil of the gun 
he was fighting. 

The Reunion, in her long guns, was armed the sanoe. as tho; 












Embiuoade/ except in haTing eight instead ten 6-poanders: 
she also had six brass 36-pounder carronades ; making the total 
of her guns 40. The complement of the Bdanion, according to 
the British official account, amounted to 320 men; but the 
number deposed to by the French officers, to entitle the captors 
to head-money, was 300.^ Of these the French frigate, accord- 
ing to the letter of Captain Saumarez, lost 120 in killed and 
wounded ; but, by another account, the loss on board the Be- 
union consisted of 33 officers, seamen, and marines killed, and 
48 severely wounded. 

Comparative Force of the Combatants, 

Broadside-guns • . • |iu * 

Crew •••..• No. 
Size •••••• tons. 

Neither the Kdunion's six heavy carronades, nor the Crescent's 
eight light ones, were very efficient pieces : hence the difference 
in the maindeck guns of the two frigates gave a decided advan- 
tage to the Crescent. Under all the circumstances, therefore, 
it must be owned that, if the officers and men of the Beunion 
lacked skill, they were by no means deficient in courage. Many 
persons on the French shore witnessed the combat; and the 
Reunion's consort in Cherbourg, believed to have been the 
Semillante, made an attempt to go out to her assistance; but 
a contrary tide and the failure of wind, aided perhaps by the 
knowledge that a second enemy's frigate was in the offing, de- 
tained her in port. 

As a reward for his services on this occasion. Captain Sau- 
marez, soon after his arrival at Portsmouth, received tiie honour 
of knighthood ; and, as a further proof how highly the Crescent's 
performance was rated. Sir James was presented by the city of 
London with a handsome piece of plate. In addition to the 
reward bestowed upon Captain Saumarez, the Crescent's first- 
lieutenant, George Parker, as he justly merited, was promoted 
to the rank of commander. The second and third lieutenants 
present in the action were Charles Otter and Peter Rye. The 
Reunion was purchased by the British government, and added 

1 See p. 113 ; also table at p. 59. which the English captor naturally refers, 

* This discrepancy commonly arises in the first instance, for ascertaining tlra 

from an excess of numbers in the French complement of his prize. 

ship's role d'^nipage; a document to 


to the navy, nnder the same name as a omising 12-poTmder 
36-gun frigate. 

On the 22n(i of October, at 2 a. m., the British 64rgun ship 
Agamemnon, Captain Horatio Nelson, while cmising off Sardinia,* 
saw fiye sail standing across her to the westward, close npon a 
wind. These were a French squadron commanded by Commo- 
dore Perr^e, and consisting of the 


40 Melpomene. 
38 Minerve. - 
36 Fortunes. 


28 Mignonne.^ 

14 Hasard. 

At 2 h. 10 m. A.M. the strangers tacked, by signal of rockets, 
and were then about three miles on the Agamemnon's weather 
bow. At 4 A.M. tte Agamemnon got within hail of a frigate, 
but, lest the latter should prove to be a Neapolitan or Sardinian, 
with a convoy, was careful not to fire into her. Keceiving no 
answer, however, to the hail, and observing the frigate to be 
making sail, the Agamemnon fired a shot ahead of her. On 
this, the frigate crowded sail to get off, steering two points from 
the wind; and the Agamemnon, to prevent the frigate from 
getting before it, kept her about two points on the bow, chasing 
under every stitch of canvas. The four other vessels were now 
seen on the Agamemnon's quarter, steering after her and the 

At daylight the frigate ahead hoisted French national colours, 
and began firing her stern-chasers. Occasionally, too, the 
frigate's superiority in sailing enabled her to give a yaw and 
fire her broadside ; in return for which the Agamemnon could 
bring only a few of her foremost guns now and then to bear. 
While the breeze continued fresh, the 64 and frigate left the 
other ships far behind; but at 9 a.m., the two former having 
run into nearly a calm, the four ships in the north-west came 
up fast. To these, now plainly discovered to be two large and 
one smaller frigate, and an armed brig, the chase, evidently in 
a shattered condition, mad& signals : on which her friends stood 
for her, and she, hauling more up, was presently in the midst of 

The Agamemnon, having her maintopsail cut to pieces, main 
and mizenmasts, and fore-yard badly wounded, and a great 
quantity of rigging shot away, could not haul her wind ; and 
these four French frigates and brig-corvette, with the option, at 

1 Named Fotchet in the published accounts. 


any time before noon on that day, of bringing a British 64-gan 
ship to action, left her unmolested, and pursued their route. 

The Agamemnon had only 345 men at quarters ; and of these 
she lost one man kiUed and six wounded. The aggregate crews 
of the ^ve French vessels amounted to at least 1100 men : what 
loss was sustained by the only ship among them that came 
within reach of the Agamemnon's shot cannot now be ascertained. 

On the 24th the Agamemnon anchored in Cagliari Bay to re- 
pair her damages ; and the French frigates proceeded to Mor- 
tella Bay. From this anchorage they might probably have been 
compelled to remove by the fire of the tower which, as is else- 
where stated, had been captured in the preceding month by the 
boats of the LowestoflFe ; ^ but Commodore Linzee had since re- 
moved the guns into a tender which he chose to fit out. The 
consequence was, that the Corsicans, left in charge, had no alter- 
native but to abandon the tower, and a party from the French 
squadron immediately landed and took possession of it. 

On the 24th of October, at 9 h. 30 m. a.m., the British 12- 
pounder 32-gun frigate Thames, Captain James Cotes, being in 
latitude 47*^ 2' north, and longitude 1^ 22' west, standing close- 
hauled to the southward, with the wind at west-south-west, saw 
a sail bearing south ; which sail, after hoisting a blue flag at the 
fore by way of signal, as it afterwards proved, to a brig that 
accompanied her, bore away large. The weather soon came 
on very thick, and did not clear up until 10 h. 15 m. a.m. ; 
when the stranger, now seen to be a frigate, appeared on a wind 
standing for the Thames. The latter immediately cleared for 
action, and at 10 h. 30 m. p.m. the French 40-gun frigate Uranie, 
the frigate in sight, fired a gun to windward, and hoisted French 
national colours. 

The two ships, having the same object in view, soon passed 
very near to each other, on contrary tacks ; at which time the 
Uranie fired her broadside, and wore round on. the opposite tack. 
An action now commenced, and was continued, with great spirit 
on both sides, until 2 h. 20 m. p.m. ; when the Uranie, getting 
under the stem of the Thames, gave her two or three raking 
broadsides, and then attempted to board on the starboard 
quarter; but, on receiving through her bows a well-directed 
fire from six or seven of the Thames's maindeck guns, double- 
shotted, the Uranie threw all her sails aback, and hauled off to 
the southward. The British crew, on seeing this, gave three 

1 See p. 95. 


hearty cheers ; but the Thames was in too crippled a condition 
to make sail in pursuit. 

The Thames, whose force consisted only of her established 
long guns, 32 in number, had quitted England 30 men short of 
complement, and was obliged, in consequence, to take the ma- 
rines from the 6-pounder to assist in working the 12s. Her loss 
in the action, out of a crew of 184 men and boys, amounted to 
10 seamen and one private marine killed, her second-lieutenant 
(George Robinson), master (George Norris), one master's mate 
(David Valentine), one midshipman (James Dale), 14 seamen, 
and five private marines wounded. 

The Uranie's force in guns was exactly that of the French 
40-gun frigate, in the table at p. 59, and her complement was 
stated to have been from 320 to 350. The constant stream of 
musketry that poured from her during the whole of the action 
renders it probable that the highest of those numbers came 
nearest to the amount. The loss on board the Uranie does not 
appear ; but it was believed to have been very severe, and to 
have included among the killed her captain, M. Tartue. 

Comparative Force of the Combatants. 

Broadside-guns • • * iib ' 

Crew No. 

^ze tons. 

Opposed to so decided a superiority, it will not appear sur- 
prising that the Thames should have suffered to the extent now 
about to be detailed. Her three lower masts and bowsprit \vtne 
shot through in several places ; all her stays were shot away, as 
was all the main rigging, except a few shrouds, and they were 
rendered useless. The maintopmast rigging was even worse 
than the main rigging, and the topmast was shot through in 
three places. The maintopsail yard was shot away in the slings 
by a double-headed shot, and the yard-arms came down in front 
of the main yard ; the slings, both iron and rope, and the geers 
of the main yard, were shot away, so that the yard hung by the 
trusses, about a third of the mast down ; and the mainsail was 
cut to pieces, particularly the leech-ropes. 

The foremast had received nearly the same damage as the 
mainmast, except that the slings of the fore yard were not all 
cut away, whereby the yard remained aloft: the foretopmast 
rigging, except a shroud or two, was all shot away; as were all 












the stays, back-stays, lifts, braces, ties, halliards, and other 
tackling. The bowsprit was shot through in several places; 
and all the bob-stays and bowsprit shrouds were cut by shot and 
langridge : the jib-stay and halliards had been shot away at the 
first broadside. The mizenmast was so injured, and the rigging 
so cut, that the gaff was obliged to be lowered, as soon as the 
action ended, to prevent the mast from going oyer the side ; and 
the fore-part of the top was entirely shot away. 

The hull of the Thames had received innumerable shots; the 
chief part of the gangways was shot away ; the main deck in 
front of the mainmast was torn up from the waterway to the 
hatchways, and the bits were shot away and unshipped. Six 
shots had passed between wind and water on the starboard, and 
three on the larboard side. One gun on the quarter-deck, and 
two on the main deck, were dismounted; and almost all the 
tackles and breechings were cut away. The loss on board the 
Thames, as we have just seen, amounted to 11 men killed, and 
23 (two of them mortally) wounded. The surprise is that, after 
being so terribly mauled by shot, her loss was not treble what it 

The condition of the Uranie can be taken only from her ap- 
pearance as she lay to, about two miles from her opponent, re- 
pairing her damages. Her masts, though all were standing, 
seemed to be greatly injured, as did her rigging and sails. 
Several men were seen over her sides, Stopping shot-holes ; and 
it was evident that she was pumping, with all her remaining 

The Thames could steer but one course, and that was right 
before the wind. Judging tliat the Uranie would certainly re- 
new the contest, as soon as she was in a state to bear down, 
Captain Cotes commenced refitting the Thames, in order to 
receive her. The British crew had been so busied in their 
various duties, that they had scarcely bestowed a glance beyond 
their own ship ; and at 4 p.m., when inquiries were made after 
the Uranie, not a person, either on deck or in the tops, could 
see anything of her : and yet it did not appear possible that, 
under every advantage of sailing, she could have gained a dis- 
tance to be completely out of sight. 

Soon afterwards four sail made their appearance, and came up 
fast, under English colours. The wind had by this time fresh- 
ened from the south-west ; and the Thames, being without any 
aftei^sail, and having her runners all carried forward and crossed, 
to serve both as stays and shroudSi was not able to haul upon a 


wind. On this, one of the frigates ranged up under her stem, 
and gave her a broadside. The Thames then brought to, hailed 
that she was in a defenceless state from a previous action, and 
struck her colours to the French 40-gun frigate Carmagnole, 
Captain ZeLcharie-Jacques-Th^odore Allemand, having in her 
company the 36-gun .frigates B^solue and Semillante, and 16* 
gun brig-corvette Espiegle. M. Allemand ordered Captain 
Cotes to send his boat on board the Carmagnole; but the 
Thames not having any boat fit to take the water, nor even the, 
means of hoisting one out, the Carmagnole had to send one of 
her boats to take possession of the prize. • 

The French commodore inquired particularly the description 
of the Thames' s late opponent : it was given to him as minutely 
as possible. He then said that she was the Uranie, a frigate of 
his squadron, which, two days before, had gone in chase of a 
yellow-sided brig. He was informed that such a vessel, ap- 
parently either a Spanish packet or small brig of war, had been 
seen in her company : whereupon he expressed himself highly 
indignant at the captain of the Uranie ; declaring, that the 
latter ought to have annihilated the Thames in half the time. 

The Thames, being taken in tow by the Carmagnole, was 
conducted to Brest, where she arrived on the following day« 
Her surgeon had been removed from her on the preceding even- 
ing, and the wounded of her crew remained unattended for three 
days ; at the end of which time they were transported to the 
hospital. The British ofiicers and men were completely pillaged 
by the French crew, over whom the French oflBcers had little 
or no control : it is, however, but fair to state, that the latter 
did all in their power to mitigate the sufferings of their prisoners. 

Several of the officers late belonging to the Thames resided 
two years at Brest, and, naturally enough, made the most dili- 
gent inquiries after the frigate that had engaged them, but never 
could hear the least tidings of her. Coupling this circum* 
stance with the Uranie's sudden abandonment of the action, and 
with the visible effects of the repeated broadsides of the Thames 
upon her hull, as she lay pumping in their view, the British 
ofiicers could not but consider that the efforts of their ship, al- 
though not crowned with victory, had sent to the bottom an 
enemy's ship of greatly superior force. 

In this hope, however, they were deceived. The name of the 
Uranie, immediately or soon after she arrived in port, was 
changed to Tortue. Our suspicion that such had been the case, 
we recorded in tiie first edition of this work. By referring to 


the proceedings instituted in the Admiralty Prize-court against 
the French frigate Tortne, captured by the Polyphemus in 
January, 1797, we have since found it expressly deposed by 
Captain Magendie and his two senior lieutenants, that, previously 
to the capture of the British frigate Thames, the Tortue, repre- 
sented by them as mounting 44 guns, had been named Uranie. 
In consequence of that, we believe, the British admiralty, on 
receiving the Tortue into the service, changed her name to 

On the 26th of November, at 1 a.m., the British 12-pounder 
32-gun frigates Penelope, Captain Bartholomew Samuel Bow- 
ley, and Iphigenia, Captain Patrick Sinclair, cruising in the bight 
of Leogane, island of St. Domingo, discovered on the west quar- 
ter, and immediately chased, the French 36-gun frigate Incon- 
stante, from Port-au-Prince, bound to Petit-Trou. At 1 h. 30 m. 
A.M. the Penelope, who had far outrun her consort in the 
chase, got close alongside of the Inconstante, between whom 
and herself a smart cannonade commenced. In a short time 
the hammock-cloths of the Penelope on the engaged side caught 
fire, and 50 hammocks were destroyed before the flames could 
be extinguished. The action, nevertheless, still went on, and 
continued until the Iphigenia came ranging up on the French 
frigate's starboard quarter ; when, at 2 a.m., the Inconstante 
hauled down her colours. The Penelope had one seaman killed, 
and one midshipman (John Allen) and six seamen wounded ; 
the Iphigenia, no person hurt. The Inconstante, out of a crew 
of 300 men and boys, had her first-lieutenant and six seamen 
killed, and her captain and 20 men (including three mortally) 
wounded. The prize was purchased for the navy, and regis- 
tered, under her French name, as a 12-pounder 36. 

On the 1st of December his Britannic majesty's packet the 
Antelope, Captain Curtis, being off Cumberland harbour, in 
Cuba, on her way to England, from Port-Eoyal, Jamaica, which 
port she had quitted three days previous, fell in with two French 
schooner-privateers, of formidable appearance. The packet im- 
mediately bore up for Jamaica, and was followed, under all sail, 
by the privateers. The Atalante, one of the two, outsailing her 
consort, continued the cliase alone. During that and the fol- 
lowing day, until 4 p.m., the packet rather gained upon her 
pursuer ; but the wind suddenly failing, the latter took to her 
sweeps, and soon sw^t up alongside of the Antelope. After the 
exchange of a few shots, the schooner sheered off. On the 2nd^ 
at 5 A.M., it still being calm, the Atalante again swept up, and, 


on reaching her opponent, grappled her on the starboard side. 
The privateer then poured in a broadside, and attempted, nnder 
cover of the smoke, to carry the Antelope by boarding ; bnt the 
crew of the latter drove back the assailants with great slaughter. 

Among the sufferers by the privateer's broadside, was the 
packet's commander, Mr. Curtis, who fell to rise no more ; as 
did also the steward, and a French gentleman, a passenger. 
The first-mate, too, was shot through the body, but survived. 
The second-mate having died of the fever soon after the packet 
had sailed from Port-Eoyal, the command now devolved upon 
Mr. Pasco, the boatswain, who, with the few brave men leffc^ 
assisted by the passengers, repulsed repeated attempts to board, 
made, at intervals, during the long period that the vessels re- 
mained lashed together. At last, the privateersmen, finding 
they had caught a tartar, cut the grapplings, and attempted to 
sheer off. The boatswain, observing this, ran aloft, and lashed 
the schooner's square-sail yard to the Antelope's fore shrouds. 
Immediately a well-directed volley of small arms was poured 
into the privateer, and the crew called for quarter. This, not- 
withstanding the Atalante had fought with the red or bloody 
flag at her mast-head, to indicate that no quarter would be 
shown by her, was granted, and possession was forthwith taken 
of the prize. 

The Antelope mounted six 3-pounders, and had sailed with 
27 hands ; but she had lost four by the fever, and two were ill 
in their hammocks, consequently the i>acket commenced the 
action with only 21 men, exclusive of the passengers. Her 
total loss in the action was three killed, and four wounded. The 
Atalante mounted eight 3 -pounders ; and her complement was 
65 men, composed of French, Americans, and Irish. Of these 
the first and second captains and 30 men were killed,' and 17 
officers and men wounded. The Atalante had been fitted out 
at Charleston, in the United States. The Antelope now carried 
her prize in triumph to Annotta Bay, Jamaica, where the two 
vessels arrived on the morning succeeding the action. 

The unparalleled bravery of one of the Antelope's passengers, 
a M. Nodin, formerly a midshipman in the French navy, de- 
serves to be recorded. It is related of this young man, that he 
stood by the helm and worked the ship, armed with a musket 

1 The nmnber of dead lying on the deck, been, as is stated, the number of priva- 

when the schooner was taken possession teersmen found unhurt, the schooner's 

of, amoanted to 20. It is probable that complement, on commencing the action, 

none had, as ooqjectured, been thrown would be 12 fewer than appears in the 

overboard : hence, admitthig 16 to have text. 




and a pike, which he alternately made use of: that, when he 
perceived the Atalcmte'B men climbing the qnarterg of the Ante- 
lope, he quitted the helm, and with the pike despatched such as 
came within his reach, returning at proper intervals to right the 
vessel ; that, with the pike and musket, he killed or disabled 
several men, and continued his astonishing exertions for up- 
wards of an hour and a quarter.^ 

Colonial Expeditions, 

An enumeration of the principal colonies possessed by the 
several powers at war, as well as by those far from disinterested 
lookers-on, the neutral nations, may usefully precede the ac- 
counts which, under this head of the work, we purpose to give, 
but only, except where the navy is exclusively concerned, in a 
summary manner. 

There were possessed in 



France, | 

North America, 

I Upper and Lower Canada ; Settlements in Hudson's Bay ; 
Provinces in Novar-Scotia and New Brunswick; Iriands of 
Cape Breton, Newfoundland, and St. John, or Prince Edward ; 
the Magdalen islands, and the Bcimudas or Somers islands. 

Small fishing islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, on the 
coast of Newfoundland. 


West Indies, 

Island of Jamaica, Bahama islands, and the Bay of Hondu- 
ras, to leeward ; and, to windward, Bai'badoes, Grmada, and 
England, { the Grenadines, Antigua, St. Vincent, Dominique or Domi- 
nica, St. Kitt's, or St. Christopher's, Nevis, Montserrat, and 
the Virgin islands. 

(Islands of Cura9oa and St. Eustatia, and part of St. Martin ; 
Dutch Guiana, on the coast of Terra Firma, contiguous to the 
river Oronoko, with the settlements of Surinam, Demerara, 
Berbice, and Essequibo. 

Islands of Cuba, Trinidad, Porto Rico, and the east part of 

St. Domingo ; Mexico, Peru, East and West Florida, &c. ; great 

part of the east coast of South America ; the rich settlements 

of M<Mite Video and Buenos Ayres on the Rio de la Plata, and 

, part of the coast from that river to Cape Horn. 

iA large tract of country on the east coast of South America, 
including Pemambuco, Rio Janeiro, St. Salvador, and St. 
Sebastian ; and from Para to the Rio de la Plata. 
Denhabk, Islands of Santa Cruz, St. John, and St. Thomas. 


1 The Jamaica House of Assembly, 
with its wonted liberality, as socm as the 
gallant oonduct of the Antelope's ofBoen 

and crew was made known, voted the som 
of 500 guineas to be distributed among 













Island of St. Bartholomew. 

IlsUods of Martiniqae, Guadeloupe, the Saintes, Desirade, 
Ste. Lucie, Tobago, and Marie Gdante ; also part of St. 
Domingo and St. Martin ; French Guiana, or Cayenne, on 
the coast of Terra Firma. 

Coast of Africa, 

( Fort James, on the river Gambia ; Sierra Leone ; Cape 
1 Coast Castle. 

Cape of Good Hope ; settlements of Amsterdam, Acra, 
and Delmine, on the coast of Guinea. 

Madeira ; the Azores or Western islands ; Cape de Verd 
islands; island of St. Thomas on the line; Loango, 
St. Paid, and a few other small trading forts. 
A few small trading forts. 
Senegal, Goree, &c. 

East Indies, 

Greater part of the coasts of Malabar and Coromandel ; 
island of Pulo Penang, and Bencoolen on the island of 
Sumatra ; diief part of New Holland ; Andamin islands, 
in the Bay of Bengal ; St. Helena. 

Batavia and several other settlements in the island of 
Java ; Samanap on the island of Madura, and Malacca on 
the peninsula of that name ; Masulipatam on the coast of 
Coromandel, and Cochin on the coast of Malabar ; Trinoo- 
malee, Pointe de Galle, and Columbo in the island of 
Ceylon ; &ctories of Pprca and Quilon in the Travaucore 
country ; Amboyana, Banda, Temante, &c. 

Philippine islands, and settlement of Manilla in the 
island of Leuconia. 

Goa on the Malabar coast ; Macao at the mouth of the 
Tigris on the coast of China. 

Tranquebar, on the coast of Coromandel. 

Fort Pondicherry on the coast of Coromandel ; ketones 
of Mahe' on the coast of Malabar ; of Chandernagore, up 
the Ganges, also of Karica, Yanam, and a few others ; 
island of Mauritius, or Isle de France; Isle Bourbon; 
Foul Point on the island of Madagascar. 

North America, 

We shall now proceed in our narratiye of colonial occnrrences, 
taking the different stations in the order in which they have just 
been named ; North America, West Indies, Coast of Africa, and 
East Indies. In the station of North America is included that 
of Newfoundland ; at which island, or rather at St. John's, its 
principal port, the British naval force, on the breaking out of the 
war, consisted of the 64-gun ship Stately, Captain J. S. Smith, 
bearing the flag of Yice-admiral Sir Bichard King, the>32-gau 


frigates Boston, Fox, and Cleopatra, and four or five small 
sloops. The first act of hostility in this quarter was the capture 
of the small fishing islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, which 
had been taken from the French in 1778, .and were injudiciously 
restored to them by the treaty of 1783. 

Aware of the importance of these fishery islands, the British 
government, in a very few days after war had been declared, 
despatched orders to Halifax, Nova-Scotia, for their immediate 
seizure. In pursuance of those directions. Brigadier-general 
Ogilvie, with a detachment of the royal artillery, and 310 rank 
and file of the 4th and 65th regiments, embarked, on the 7th of 
May, in the British 28-gun frigate Alligator, Captain William 
Affleck, the Diligente armed schooner and three transports. On 
the 14th, at daybreak, the Alligator and convoy made the island 
of St. Pierre ; and, it having been stated (although, as it proved, 
erroneously) that a French frigate was in the harbour, a division 
of the troops was landed about five miles to the westward of the 
town ; after which, the ships made sail for the harbour. A sum- 
mons for the surrender of the islands was sent to M. Danseville, 
the commandant, who demanded terms of capitulation, but, on 
these being refused, surrendered the islands of St. Pierre and 
Miquelon at discretion. The battery consisted of eight 24- 
pounders, the garrison of between 80 and 100 men, besides 
about 500 armed fishermen; and the whole population of 
the two islands, of 1502 souls, including 761 for Miquelon. 
Eighteen small vessels laden with fish and two American 
schooners containing provisions and naval stores, were taken 
in the harbour. 

West Indies, 

The distance between Barbadoes and Jamaica, aided by the 
violent and steady force of the trade-wind, as it blows from one 
island to the other, having rendered it necessary to divide the 
British West Indies into two commands, or stations, we shall 
find it most convenient to conform to the same arrangement ; 
especially, as the naval operations carried on upon either station 
are usually conducted by the admiral in command there, or by a 
detachment from his squadron. When the news of the war 
reached Barbadoes, the commander-in-chief on the station was 
Yice-admiral Sir John Laforey, who had his flag on board the 
50-gun ship Trusty, Captain John Drew ; which, with a small 
frigate and two or three sloops, was all the British force in that 


The island of Tobago had been taken from the British in the 
lat« war, and the French were confirmed in the possession of it 
by the treaty of Amiens. It was therefore an object to retake 
it as speedily as possible. Accordingly, on the 12th of April, 
directions to that effect having been promptly forwarded, Major- 
general Cuyler, at the head of a detachment composed of 50 
artillerymen, 418 of the 9th and 60th (4th battalion) regiments, 
and 32 marines, total 470 officers and men, embarked from 
Bridge-town, Barbadoes, on board the Trusty, 18-gun sloop 
Nautilus, Hind armed schooner, and Hero merchant-ship, and, 
on the 14th, arrived in Great Courland Bay, Tobago. Chi the 
same evening the troops were landed ; and, on their approaching 
within two miles of the enemy's fort at Scarborough, a summons 
was despatched to M. Monteil, Lieutenant-colonel of the 32nd 
re^ment and commandant of the island. He refused to sur- 
render, and an assault was resolved on. 

On the 15th, at 1 a.m., the British proceeded to the attack, 
and under a heavy fire of round, grape, and musketry, succeeded, 
with their bayonets chiefly, in entering the enemy's works. The 
conquerors, tiien, in noble violation of custom, admitted their 
captives to the privileges of prisoners of war. The British loss 
was three killed and 25 wounded ; that of the enemy, as repre- 
sented, 15 in killed and wounded. The force on the batteries 
api>ear8 to have been 21 guns, 11 of them 18-pounders. The 
amount of prisoners did not exceed 200; but it was conjectured, 
that full 100 armed inhabitants, besides several mulattoes and 
negroes, had, on the first rush of the British, escaped from the 

In consequence of representations made by the royalists of 
Martinique to Bear-admiral Gardner, who had recently suc- 
ceeded Rear-admiral Laforey, and to Major-general Bruce, the 
military commander-in-chief at Barbadoes, intimating, that even 
the display of a small British force would occasion a great number 
of the inhabitants to declare for the monarchy. Bear-admiral 
Gardner's squadron, consisting of the Queen 98, Captain John 
Hutt, bearing his flag, the Duke, of the same force. Captain the 
Honourable George Murray, the Hector and Monarch 748, Cap- 
tains George Montagu and Sir James Wallace, with one or two 
others, and a division of transports, having on board about 
1100 British and 800 French royalist troops, proceeded off" the 

Between the 14th and 17th the troops were disembarked, 
under cover of the British ships, assisted by a French royalist 

128 coLoariAL expeditions. — ^west indies. [I798. 

74-gim ship and 36-gim frigate ; the latter the Calypso, and the 
former, late the Fhocion (both ships having belonged to the 
repnblican nayy), but now newly named the Ferme. 

On the 18th the united forces moved forward, in two cohmms, 
to attack the two batteries which defended the to¥ni of St. 
Pierre; and in which the governor of the island, Greneral 
Bochambean, was posted, with, as is alleged in the French 
accounts, only a few hundred troops. Unfortunately, some 
alarm having taken place among the royalists, the latter, in a 
mistake, fired on each other, and severely wounded their c<»n- 
mander. This so disconcerted the men, that they turned upon 
their heels, and marched back to the post they had quitted. The 
British being, in point of numbers, as was conceived, considerably 
inferior to the republicans, marched back also, and, by the 21st, 
were again on board their ships. The knowledge of what treat- 
ment the royalists were likely to experience if they fell into the 
hands of the republicans, induced Major-general Bruce to hire 
vessels to bring them off; and Captain leYicomte de la Riviere, 
putting himself and his 74 and frigate under the orders of the 
British admiral, saved a great number of his unfortunate country- 
men. By this prompt measure, some hundreds of the loyal 
inhabitants, whites, browns, and blacks, escaped being mas- 
sacred, and were afterwards distributed as settlers among the 
different islands. There were, however, as many as 2000 that 
remained. These were seized and confined as ''aristocrats;** 
and, if there was a *' committee of public safety *' in the island, 
met, without doubt, a similar fate to that which had befallen 
many thousands of their royah'st brethren in Europe. Soon 
after the unfortunate issue of this expedition. Bear-admiral 
Gardner sailed for England, and the Ferme and Calypso joined 
the Spaniards at the island of Trinidad. 

Previously to our quitting the Windward Islands, we nnist 
not omit to mention that on the 12th and 13th of August a 
dreadful hurricane raged there ; that the islands of St. Enstatia, 
St. Christopher, and St. Thomas experienced the ntmost ef its 
violence ; and that, besides the numerous plantations laid waste, 
several vessels and lives were lost, both at sea and on the dif- 
ferent coasts. 

The British naval commander-in-chief at Jamaica, when the 
war broke ont, was Commodore John Ford, having his broad 
pendant flying on board the 50-gun ship Europa, Ci^ytain 
Greorge Gregory, which ship, along with a few 12-pounder 
frigates, and some smaller vessels, composed the whole British 


force on this station. The troubles of St. Domingo soon gave 
occasion for its employment. A Monsieur Charmilly, last from 
England, had succeeded in persuading his countrymen at 
J^mie, in that fine island, to throw themselves upon British 
protection. Accordingly, M. Charmilly himself was deputed by 
the inhabitants of Grande- Anse, including the quarter at J^r^mie, 
to carry to Major-general Williamson, the lieutenant-governor 
of Jamaica, the terms on which they were willing to capitulate. 
Among the articles, the whole of which were liberal, and many 
h^hly advantageous to the British, was one, that the mulattoes 
riioidd have all the privileges enjoyed by that class of inhabitants 
in the British islands. 

After the terms had been agreed to, and just as the expedition 
that was to see them enforced was on the eve of sailing, arrived 
a Major Carles, a French officer belonging to the town of Cape- 
Nicolas-Mole ; and who, having been captured and carried into 
Nassau by a New-Providence privateer, had represented to 
Lord Dunmore, the governor, that the inhabitants of the Mole, 
if a certain number of troops could be landed for their support, 
woidd also surrender themselves to the arms of Great Britain. 
This representation had induced his lordship to send the major 
down to Jamaica ; and the plan was considered by the governor 
and council as feasible. 

With this double object in view, on the 9th of September, the 
British 50-gun ship Europa, Commodore Ford, and some of the 
smaller vessels on the station, took on board, at Port-Eoyal, 
along with Monsieur Charmilly and Major Carles, a detachment 
of British troops, composed of the 13th regiment, the flank 
companies of the 49th regiment, and a proportion of royal 
artillery, under the command of Lieutenant-colonel Whitelock, 
of the 13th ; and the whole arrived, on the 19th of September, 
oflF J^r^mie. The troops, on their landing, were received by the 
inhabitants with every demonstration of joy and fidelity, and the 
British colours were hoisted under a royal salute, accompanied 
by the other ceremonies usual on such occasions. 

Commodore Ford, in order, by a diversion, to add to Colonel 
Whitelock's security, despatched Captain Eowley, of tho 32- 
gnn Mgate Penelope, with the Iphigenia and Hermoine, of the 
same force, to the Bay des Flamands, near St. Louis, on the 
south side of the island, with orders to capture or destroy some 
French merchant-vessels that were stated to be lying there. 
Captain Rowley succeeded in bringing away ten, the chief of 
them laden with colonial produce. With respect to Major 

VOL. I. K 


Carles, it had been resolved that he should proceed in a flag of 
truce to the Mole, to sound the inhabitants, and then return to 
Jamaica, in order to digest the plan of the enterprise. But 
Commodore Ford, learning at Jdr^mie that a speedy attack on 
the Mole was meditated by the republican party, determined to 
proceed there himself, to frustrate, if possible, the attempt. 

On arriving, on the 2l8t, near the harbour of Cape-Nicolas- 
Mole, the commodore landed Major Carles, who, on the next 
day, made the signal agreed upcm between himself and the com- 
modore ;,and the latter, with the Europa and small yessels, ap- 
proached, under proper caution, the formidable battery at the 
entrance. It was now ascertained that the blacks and mulattoes 
at .fean-Rabel, to the amount of 800 or 1000, were hourly ex- 
pected to attack the town, and that the inhabitants were in the 
utmost despondency. No time was therefore to be lost, and 
Commodore Ford sent on shore a copy of the same cajntulation 
that had been acceded to at Jdrdmie. 

Soon after daylight the next morning this was returned duly 
executed,^ and the Europa proceeded to the anchorage, where, 
after the proper forms had been gone through, the town of Cape- 
Nicolas-Mole, and its extensive dependencies, were surrendered 
to the arms of his Britannic Majesty. 

Tiius was seen the extraordinary spectacle of a French port, 
confessedly one of the finest harbours in tha West Indies, guarded 
by batteries mounted with upwards of 100 pieces of heavy can- 
non, in the quiet possession of a 50-gun ship. 

The marines of the Europa, about 58 in number, with Brevet- 
major Eobinson at their head, were all the British force that 
was on shore ; but Commodore Ford, very judiciously, held 200 
peamcn ready to land at a moment's warning. This precau- 
tionary measure continued, without relaxation, until the arrival 
from Jeremie, on the 28th, of the grenadier company of the 13th ; 
and was not wholly laid aside till the arrival, on the 12th of the 
f<ucceeding month, of the Penelope and Iphigenia, from Jamaica, 
witli five companies of the 49th regiment, under the command of 
liieutenant-colonel Dansey, who sucQeeded Brevet-major Eobin- 
tton as commandant of the district. The acquisition of these 
fi'igates enabled the commodore, by sending them oflf Port-au- 
Paix, to put a stop to an expedition, consisting of upwards of 
5000 men, with which the republicans had intended to attempt 
the recapture of the town and batteries of the Mole. 

1 With an ad<Iitional article, agreeing men in fjnrrison, and to allow the former 
ti) take Inio iliitibb my the olfioui'i aud the smuv rauk which they bad before held. 


Just at the close of the year, the parishes of Jean-Rabel, St. 
Marc, Arcahaye, and Boncassin, on the north, and the province 
of Ldogane, on the Kouth side of the bight, surrendered to the 
British, upon terms similar to those which had been granted to 
Jeremie and Cape-Nicolas-Mole. 

East Indies, 

The British naval force in the East Indies, at the beginning of 
the war, consisted of only a 64-gun ship, the Crown, lying at 
Madras, and one or two frigates and sloops at, or in the neigh- 
bourhood o( Calcutta, and was under the command of Commo- 
dore the Honourable William Comwallis. An occurrence thai 
happened in these seas, nearly a year and a half before the war 
became known there, must be cm^sorily noticed ere we commence 
upon the regular narrative. 

During the prevalence of hostilities betweeen the East India 
Company and Tippoo Saib, in 1790 and 1791, the principal 
assistance which, owing to the internal nature of the campaign, 
the British navy could render, was to watch the port of Manga- 
lore on the Malabar coast, and prevent the French, who rather 
favoured the cause of Tippoo, from throwing in feupplies. In the 
beginning of November, 1791, while Commodore Comwallis, 
who had then his broad pendant on board the 38 -gun frigate 
Minerva, and was accompanied by the 3C-gun frigate Fhoeni^^ 
Captain Sir Eichard John Strachan, and Perseverance, Captain 
Isaac Smith, lay at anchor in the road of Tellicherry, a fort and 
.anchorage situated a few leagues to the southward of Mangalore, 
the French 36-gun frigate Edsolue got under way from Mahe, 
a French factory, about seven miles to the southward of Telli- 
cherry, and, in company with two country coasting-vessel*, 
steered towards Mangalore. 

As soon as the French frigate and her small convoy arrived 
abreast of Tellicherry, the British commodore detached the 
Phoenix and Perseverance to search the vessels for contraband 
of war. The Phoenix having run alongside the Eesolue, Sir 
Eichard informed the French captain of the nature of his orders, 
and of his determination to execute them, and despatched imme- 
diately a boat with an oflBcer to board ihe two vessels; whicli, 
in the meanwhile, the Perseverance had brought to. 

The captain of the Edsolue resisted this insult to the French 
flag by firing first, as is alleged, at the boat, and then at the 
Ph(jenix. TJie latter, who must have expected and been prepared 
for this crisis in the affair, was not slow in returning the compli- 


ment, and a close and smart action ensued. At the end of twenty 
minates, however, the E^olne, being much cut up in hull, spars, 
and sails, and haying sustained a loss of 25 men killed and 40 
wounded, struck her colours to the two British frigates in com- 
pany, with a loss to the frigate that had engaged her of six men 
killed and 11 wounded. 

Now, it can no more be denied that the French captain did 
his duty in resisting the search of his convoy than that he most 
gallantly supported the honour of his flag, in delaying to haul it 
down until his loss had become so severe, and his chance of 
escape so utterly hopeless. Hopeless, indeed, except x>erhaps by 
flight, it was fromi the first ; for, in addition to the unprepared 
state of his frigate, the E^solue carried only 12 and 6 pounders, 
while all three British frigates, the one in action, the second 
within gun-shot, and the third in sight, carried 18 and 9 

The search* having been made, and no contraband of -war 
found, Sir Eichard was about proceeding to rejoin his command- 
ing officer at anchor in the road, but the French captain de- 
clined to continue in charge of his surrendered ship. The E^solue 
was therefore taken possession of by the British, towed into 
the road of Mah^, and there left with yards and topmasts struck. 

M. Saint-F^lix, the commodore of the French squadron, ar- 
rived soon afterwards, in the 40-gun frigate Cybele; and a 
correspondence, conducted with much anger on one side, and 
with temper and firmness on the other, ensued between the 
French and British commodores. M. Saint-F^lix threatened 
further resistance, if any vessels under his orders were attempted 
to be detained. 

It appears, however, that the Cybele and Eesolue afterwards 
got under way and put to sea, attended by the Minerva and 
Phoenix ; who cruised with them several days, and also brought 
t» some vessels under French colours without interruption. M 
Baint-F^ix subsequently despatched the Edsolue on another 
service; and Commodore Oornwallis did the same with the 
Phoenix. The Minerva and Cybele were thus left cruising to- 
gether ; but, although the two commodores kept each other's 
company for some days, we hear of no further altercation be- 
tween them. The attack upon the Eesolue occasioned, as may 
be supposed, some stir in France ; but matters were then in too 
disturbed a state for the nation to take that notice of the trans- 
action which, in more settled times, would certainly have been 
the case. 


Owing to the zeal and promptitude of Mr. Baldwin, bis ma- 
jesty's consul at Alexandria, information that war had been 
declared by France, and that all the British and Dutch vessels 
in the ports of the latter had been seized, reached Fort St. George 
in Calcutta, on the 1st, and Fort William in Bengal on the 11th 
of June. Measures were immediately adopted for taking posses- 
sion of the different French factories in this quarter ; and Chan- 
demagore, Karica, Yanam, Mah<S, and some others, yielded 
without resistance. Such was not the case, however, with Pon- 
dicherry. This important fortress, reputed to be in fall as good 
a state of defence as when attacked at the breaking out of the 
last war, was, after every requisite preparation, besieged by 
Colonel Braithwaite, at the head of a powerful force. 

On the 1st of August, the governor, Colonel Prosper de Cler- 
mont, was summoned to surrender, but refused : and the bom- 
bardment commenced, slightly on the 20th, and with full effect 
on the 22nd. In less than two days the enemy's guns were 
silenced, and he exhibited flags of truce on all the salient angles. 
Upon this the fite of the British ceased, and an officer from the 
fort presented himself, with a letter from Colonel Clermont, 
desiring to capitulate, and to be allowed 24 hours to reduce the 
terms into form. This was refused by Colonel Braithwaite, who 
demanded that the place should be surrendered at discretion by 
8 A.M. on the 25th ; until when, he replied, he would cease to 
fire, but not to work. A second deputation, however, disposed 
Colonel Braithwaite to accept of terms less rigorous, and, on the 
23rd, a capitulation was signed, which, while it considered the 
garrison, amounting to 645 Europeans and 1014 sepoys, as 
prisoners of war, secured the lives and properties of the inha- 

The loss sustained by the British amounted, of the Europeans, 
to 37 killed and 49 wounded, and of the natives, to 56 killed 
and 82 wounded. While the siege was carrying on, the British 
38-gmi frigate Minerva, Eear-admiral the Honourable William 
Comwallis, assisted by three Indiamen, effectually blocked up 
the place by sea, chasing entirely off the coast the French frigate 
Cyb^le, now commanded (owing, we suppose, to the change of 
dynasty) by Captain Pierre-Julien Thr^ouart, and accompanied 
l>y three smaller vessels, supposed to have on board supplies 
and reinforcements for the garrison. 

( 134 ) 


Thb total number of ships at the foot of this year's abstract 
of the British nayy^ does not greatly exceed that at the foot of 
the last ; bat in commissioned cruisers, those of the line espe« 
cially, the improvement has been great. The latter have in- 
creased from 26 to 85, and the commissioned total from 135 to 
279. This rapid increase is attributable not so much to the 
accession of newly-built or newly-captured ships as to those 
precautionary measures which we commended at a former page.^ 
It was not the want of ships but the want of men that was so 
sensibly felt. Every means, however, had been used, and with 
some effect, to invite the seamen to enter. Where those means 
failed, recourse was had to the sad alternative of pressing ; and 
at length one or more very formidable fleets were enabled to put 
to sea. 

During the year 1793 the British cruisers had effected the 
capture or destruction of 140 French armed vessels, including 52 
belonging to the national navy. Of the national ships, but 35 
were captured, and out of these 30 were added to the British 
navy, exclusive of six of the 88 captured privateers.^ On the 
other hand, the loss sustained by the latter was comparatively 
slight, including but four vessels, and not one of these above a 
small 32-gun frigate.^ Five of the ships building at the com- 
mencement of the war had been launched, as well as two out of 
the 22 under-line ships ordered since ; and the remaining 20, 
among which were six 18-pounder frigates, having been laid 
down in the merchants' yards, were most of them in great for- 
wardness. The chief reason of this was, that the king's yards 

1 See Appendix, Anonal Abstract, No. 2. 'See Appendix, No. 9. 

^ See p. 63. 4 See Appendix. No. 10. 


were filled with ships tinder repair : moreover, none of the ships 
alluded to as in such forwardness exceeded a frigate in size. 

The consequence we have ventured to attach to the carronade 
as a standard gun in the British navy imposes upon us the task 
of watching its progress through the several classes of ships. 
During the year 1793 no order issued directing its general use ; 
but several captains obtained leave for their ships to be fitted 
with carronades on the quarter-deck, forecastle, and poop. One 
ship, too, the Eedoubt, fitted up as a floating battery, was armed 
wholly with carronades, and those of the highest caliber, 

The number of commissioned ofiScers and masters belonging 
to the JBritish navy at the commencement of this year was — 

Admirals •.••••••• 17 

Vice-admirals 16 

Rear-admirals 22 

„ superannuated 20 

Post-captains • • • 276 

„ superannuated 24 

Commanders, or sloop-captains . • • 167 

Lieutenants • • • 1382 

„ superannuated 29 

Masters • • • 327 

and the number of seamen and marines for which supplies were 
voted was 85,000.* 

Soon after the return of the Brest fleej from Belle-Tsle,^ those 
officers and seamen who belonged, or were suspected to belong, 
to the disaffected party, were sacrificed to the Jacobinical rage 
of Eobespierre and his agents. The captain and two of the 
lieutenants of the Cote-d'Or and the captain of the Jean-Bart 
were condemned to suffer death. Kear-admiral Kerguelen and 
some other commanders were imprisoned. The captain of the 
Tourville was tried, and, for a wonder, acquitted;^ Several 
petty officers and seamen suffered by the guillotine, and a great 
many others were imprisoned or sent away in small detach- 

1 See Appendix, No. 11. other Landafs. M. Linois, or IHirand- 

* See p. 64. Linois fas his name stands ia the Etat de 

* A writer in the Victoires et Con- la Manne), at this time commanded the 
qi^tes^tome iii.» p. 8.) states, that the Atalaute frigate, on her way from Isle-de* 
second in command to Vice-admiral Mo- France, and, in the month of Febmary, 
rardncle-GaUes, *' Contre-amiral Linois " accompanied by the Fidelle, of the same 
(the name repeated two or three times, force, brought safe to Lorient, in defiance 
and provpd to mean that able and enter- of the English fleets and cruisers, ten 
prising oflBcer), escaped the fate of Captain richly-laden East Indiamen ; a service for 
Coetnempren by affecting fatuity. Of the whidb France, in the then exigency of her 
two rear-admirals, second and third in affairs, was greatly indebted to him. 
oommandfOne was named Lelarge and the 


ments to the armies. The loss which the fleet thus sustained 
was supplied partly by the 5000 men that had just arrived from 
Toulon and 'partly by levies of landmen dragged from the in- 
terior. With respect to officers, youth and ardour in the cause 
of republicanism were the chief requisites sought after ; and a 
young chef de division, M. Yillaret-Joyeuse (an officer, it must 
be acknowled£'ed, of some merit), was made a rear-admiral, and 
appointed to succeed M. Morard-de-Galles in the command of 
the fleet. The flag of the new commander-in-chief was imme- 
diately hoisted on board the C6te-d*0r, or, as by the orders of 
the National Convention this fine three-decker was newly-named 
on this occasion, the Montague.^ The names of several other 
ships (see list. Appendix No. 6) were also changed, the tri- 
coloured flag was formally adopted as the national colours, and 
the navy of republican France, in the vaunting lang^ge of the 
day, became *' cleansed and regenerated." 

In this state of renovation and excitement the destruction of 
the French ships and stores at Toulon, although it had consi- 
derably weakened the power of the republic in the Mediterranean, 
appeared scarcely to be felt at the great depot on the Atlantic 
frontier. There the dockyards and arsenals resounded with 
the notes of war and preparation, and every republican breast 
was inspired with the hope of being able ere long to strike a 
decisive blow against the navy of England. The seamen of 
Brest and Lorient, in an address to them by the deputies of the 
Convention, Jean-Bon Saint- Andr^ and Br^ard, were told, " You 
will conquer them : yes, you will conquer those eternal enemies 
of our nation. As to that, you have but to will it, and it is 
done." " Never before," says a French writer, ** did there exist 
in Brest a fleet so formidable and well disciplined as that which 
is now lying there. Unanimity and discipline reign among 
officers and men ; and all bum with desire to fight the enemies 
of their country, to the very banks of the Thames, and under 
the walls of London." 

That this irrepressible ardour in the French navy would, 
however, effect more for the national advantage if aided by an 
extraneous stimulant, was evidently the opinion of Jean-Bon 
Saint- Andre ; for he proposed to the National Convention, and 
actually had interest to get adopted, a decree, declaring that 
the captain and officers of any ship of the line belonging to the 

1 The Cdte-d'Or was boUt from the and, in size, beauty, and force, sorpaased 
draoi^tof the celebrated San^ (the reputed every other ship in the world, except 
designer of 4 8 French Une-of-battle ships), pertutpa the Gcnuzneroe-de-MarseiUe. 

17«4.] . LIBEL ON ADMIRAL BYNG. 137 

republic who should haul down the national colours to the 
vessels, however numerous, of an enemy, unless the French ship 
should be so shattered as to be in danger of sinking before the 
crew could be saved, should be pronounced traitors to their 
country, and suffer death ; and that the captam and officers of 
any frigate, corvette, or smaller vessel, who should surrender to 
a force double their own, unless their ship was reduced to the 
before-mentioned extremity, should be punished in the same 
manner.^ Notwithstanding this highly insulting decree, it is 
but justice to the French officers to declare that they never 
appear to have required to be thus stimulated to do their duty. 

With respect to the newly-organized French seamen, their 
valour was to be roused into action by less rigorous means. The 
report of a citizen Thibaudot was made the subject of a decree 
.of the National Convention, and, under the designation of " In- 
structions to the sailors of the French republic," was transmitted 
to the different seaport towns. These instructions contained, 
for the most part, fabulous accounts of the exploits of the French 
navy in former days ; days so remote that the memory of no 
man could reach them, and the events of which, for that reason, 
were supposed to be unknown to the illiterate sailor. " Have 
not French sailors," it was asked, " acquired the habit of cou- 
rage and victory ? Often have they conquered with an inferior 
force ; and if sometimes their enemies have gained the advan- 
tage, it has been owing to their superiority in number of Bbipa 
and of men. It is a homage which truth has extorted from the 
admirals of the proudest maritime nation. Admiral Byng said 
in his defence, ' I defy any one to produce me a single example 
where the English have conquered on the sea with an equal 
force.' "2 

This libel upon a brave but unfortunate officer' requires to be 
refated. Admiral Byng, after having stated that the French 
fleet opposed to him was superior in the size of. their ships, 
weight of metal, and number of men, besides their advantage in 
point of sailing, which enabled them to fight, or avoid fighting, 
as best suited their purpose, adds: — " I do not plead the supe- 
riority of the enemy as a reason for not attacking them, but only 
why such an attempt might, not only possibly, but most pro- 

1 Monitears of Nov. 5, 1793, Jan. 12, mouth Harbour, March 14, 1757, by the 

and Feb. 5, 1794. sentence of a court-martial, for an error 

* "Jeddfiequ'onmeciteua seulexem- in judgment (having been acquitted of 

pie oil les AogUis aient vaincu sur mer k cowardice or disaffection), in an engage- 

lOToe ^gale."— Jftm. Feb. 5, 1794. ment with a French fleet, off Minorca, 

s SEot on board the Monarch in Forts- May 20, 1766. 


bably, be nnsnccessfal ; since it is eyident that, notwithstanding 
my previous information of their strength, I did not hesitate to 
attack, and do the ntmost in my power to defeat them/'^ This 
is the only passage in the admiral's defence that bears at all on 
the point, and surely no one but citizen Thibandot could have 
perverted its meaning. 

These addresses being read by the chief officers to the different 
ships' companies, their effects were soon manifest in the eager- 
ness of the seamen to be led against their ancient foe, in order 
to prove by their prowess that they merited the eulogiums 
which their masters had so liberally bestowed upon them. Old 
Yhips were fitting and new ones constructing to add such a 
force to the already formidable fleet in Brest water as could 
not fail, it was thought, to make a serious impression upon the 
strongest fleet that England had in her power to send to sea. 

The British Channel fleet, although it had lain at anchor 
during the winter months, was ready for a start, the moment 
intelligence should arrive from the numerous cruisers off the 
French coast, that the Brest fleet had put to sea. As the spring 
advanced, two objects, exclusive of fighting the latter, rendered 
it necessary that Lord Howe should quit port. One was to see 
the East and West India and Newfoundland convoys clear of 
the Channel; the other to intercept a French, or rather a 
Franco-American convoy, amounting, as was alleged, to 350 
sail, and known to be returning from the ports of the United 
States of America, richly laden with the produce of the West 
India islands ; particularly with provisions and stores, of which 
the republic stood greatly in need ; so much so that the horrors 
of feunine were beginning to be felt. 

On the 2nd of May, the whole of the merchant- vessels being 
assembled at St. Helen's, and the wind having shifted from the 
southward to the north-east, the fleet and convoy, amounting 
together to 148 sail, including 49 ships of war, of which 34 were 
of the line, weighed, and by noon got clear of the anchorage. 
On the 4th Lord Howe, having arrived off the Lizard, directed 
the different convoys to part company, detaching Eear-admiral 
Montagu, with six 74s and two frigates, to protect them to the 
latitude of Cape Finisterre f Captain Peter Bainier, with the 

1 S«e " Trial of Admiral the Hon. John tagu, with six ships of the line, to protect 

Byng; published by order of the Adml* the trade still ftirther, while his lord^ip 

ralty."— P. 101. returned and cruised 100 leagues to the 

* Captain Brenton (Nav. Hist., toL i., westward of Ushant." A singular mis- 

p. 246) says, " Lord Howe, after seeing talce to be made by a writer who shows 

the convoys to the toathward of Cape (p. 250) that he had the Queen Charlotte's 

Finisterre, detadied Bear>fldmlral Mon- log to refer to. 




Sufifolk 74, a 64-gtin sliip, and four or five frigates, having pre- 
viously been ordered to see them safe through the remainder of 
the passage. This reduced the Channel fleet to 26 sail of the 
line, seven frigates (including one that joined afterwards), one 
hospital-ship, two fireships, one brig-sloop, and two cutters ; 
Of which the following are the names : — 




Qaeen Charlotte 

Royal George . 
Royal Sovereign 
Queen . . 



, Glory • , 
( Gibraltar . 
\ Caesar . , 


Montagu . 

t Tremendous 

, Ramillies 

Alfred . 
Orion . 
Russel . 

^ Culloden 

Gun-fdg* Frigates. 

Latona . 
I Niger . 
Venus . 
28 Pegasus 

H. S. Charon . 



{Admiral (union) Richard Eaxl Howe. 
Captain Sir Roger Curtis. 
„ Sir Andrew Snap^ Douglas. 
{Vice-adm. (r.) Sir Alex. Hood, K.B. 
Captain William Domett. 
(Vice-adm. (r.) Thomas Graves. 
Captain Henry Nichols. 
(Rear-adm. (w.) George Bowyer. 
Captain Cuthbert Collingwood. 
{Rear-adm. (w.) Benj. Caldwell. 
Captain George Blagden Westcott. 
j Rear-adm. (w.) Alan Gardner. 
( Captain John Hutt. 

John Elphinstone. 
Thomas Mackenzie. 
Anth. Jas. Pye MoUoy. 

{Rear-adm. (w.) Thomas Pasiey. 
Captain William Hope. 
James Montagu. 
James Pigott. 
Thomas Pringle. 
Heniy Harvey. 
William Parker. 
John Harvey. 
John Bazely. 
James Gambler. 
Lord Hugh Seymour. 
Charles Cotton. 
Hon. Thomas Pakenham. 
John Thomas Duckworth. 
John Willet Payne. 
Hon. G. Cranfield Berkeley. 
Albemarle Bertie. 
Isaac Schoraberg. 

















William Bentinck. 
Edward Thomborough. 
Hon. Arthur Kaye Legge. 
Hon. Robert Forbes. 
William Brown. 
Hon. Robert Stopford. 
Robert Barlow. 
Geoi^e Countess. 


Gun-frigate. Frigates. 

F S i ^®™®* 
' ' ( Incendiary 

Sip. Kingfisher 

Cat / ^"'«' • 
1 Ranger . 

. Captain William Bradley. 

„ John Cook. 

„ Thomas Le Mardiont Gosseljn. 
. Lieut. John Winne. 

f, Charles Cotgrave. 

Lord Howe immediately steered for, and on the 5th, early in 
the morning, arrived off Ushant. The Phaeton and Latona 
frigates, covered by the Orion, then ran round the island, to 
ascertain whether or not the French fleet was in port. While 
standing in towards point St. Mathien, the reconnoitring ships 
plainly saw the fleet at anchor in Brest-road, and returned to 
Lord Howe with the intelligence. The British admiral, well 
aware that, if the French fleet came out, it would be to afford 
protection to the convoy then hourly expected from America, 
steered straight for the latitude through which the latter would 
most probably pass. From the 6th to the 18th inclusive the 
fleet kept crossing the bay in various directions, without seeing 
an enemy's sail. 

On the 19th Lord Howe, having returned off Ushant, again 
ordered the Phaeton and Latona, covered this time by the 
C83sar and Leviathan, to look into the harbour. At 11 a. m. the 
four ships parted company. The service was executed, and the 
port found vacant ; and at 8 p.m. the reconnoitring detachment 
rejoined the fleet. The Leviathan, on her way in, had spoken 
an American vessel, from whose master Lord Hugh Seymour 
learned, that the French fleet, of what force not exactly ^own, 
had sailed from Brest some days before. 

We shall now proceed to furnish such particulars relative to 
the strength and object of the grand armament which France 
had equipped and sent to sea as the studied concealment and 
obscurity that pervade the French accounts will permit. Since 
early in May the convoy from the United States, under the pro- 
tection of Eear-admiral Vanstabel, with -the two 74-gun ships 
Jean-Bart and Tigre, two frigates and a brig, had been expected 
to make its appearance off the French coast. The above squadron, 
which had put to sea from Brest on the 26th of December, had 
arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, early in February, and sailed again 
on the 2nd of April, with a convoy numbering 117 sail, all deeply 
laden with provisions and West-Indian produce. Od the 6th of 
May Bear-admiral Nielly, with the five following ships of the 
line, — 

QA c^ T> '1 / Rew-adm. Joseph-Marie Nielly, 

»U feans-rareu. . . \ Captain Jean-Francois Courand, 





I'atriote . 
Trajan • 

. Captain Jean-Francois Pilastre, 


— — Morel, 

— — — -^ Dumourier, 


and several frigates and corvettes, sailed from Eochefort, with 
orders to form a junction with Kear-admiral Yanstabel and the 
convoy, in latitude 47° 48' north, and longitude 15*^ 17' west of 
Paris, because of the asserted knowledge, that a British squadron 
had been detached to intercept it. 

On the 16th of May, at 5 h. 30 m p.m., the grand fleet of 
France, consisting of the following 25 ships of the line, besides 
15 or 16 frigates and corvettes, under the joint command of 
Eear-admiral Villaret-Joyeuse and the Conventional deputy 
Jean-Bon Saint-Andr^, who accompanied the admiral in the 
Montague, sailed from the road of Brest, with a fair wind at 
north east : — 

120 Montagne 




Jacobin . 
Juste . • 
Scipion . 
'Achille . 
Conception . 

Impetneax . 
74 ^ Montagnard . 
Mndos . 
Pelletier , 
Tourville . 
, Vengeur 



Rear-ftdm. Louis-Thomas Villaret-Joyeuse, 

Commod. Bazire. 

Captain Jean-Francois Vignot. 
„ Pierre- Jacques Longer. 

„ Vandangel. 

r Rear-adm. Francois- Joseph Bouvet. 
( Captain Pierre-Mande Lebeau. 

' Lamel. 

— — — Gassin. 


■ Huguet. 

Guil.-Jean-Noel La Villegris. 

Louis L*Heritier. 


— -^ le Franc. 

Bertrand Keranguin. 




Jean-Baptiste-Fran^ois Bompart. 




Fran9ois-Pierre Etienne. 



Alain-Joseph Dordelin. 

' Renaudin. 



The object of this fleet being in part the same as that of the 
detachment which had quitted Bochefort, its course was nearly 


similar. It is a singular fact that, during the dense fog of the 
following day, the 17th, the French fleet passed so near to the 
British fleet, as to hear the latter*s fog-signals, of ringing bells 
and beating drums ; and yet, when the fog cleared away on the 
morning of the 18th, the two fleets had separated sufficiently to 
be out of each other's sight. 

On the 19th M. ViUaret was joined by the Patriote from M. 
Nielly*s squadron, with information that he had been so lucky as 
to fall in with and capture the British 32-gun frigate Castor, 
Captain Thomas Troubridge, along with the chief part of a 
convoy from Newfoundland, which the frigate had in charge. 
On the same day M. Villaret himself had the good fortune to 
fall in with the Lisbon convoy, of 53 sail, chiefly Dutch vessels 
under the care of the Dutch frigate Alliance and corvette 
Waakzaamheid. The ships of war effected their escape, but 
18 or 20 vessels of the fleet were captured. We will now quit 
M. Villaret for a while, and attend to the proceedings of the 
Biitish admiral, who was so strenuously endeavouring to fall in 
with him. 

On the 19th, in the evening, the Venus frigate, from Eear- 
admiral .Montagu's squadroij, joined Lord Howe. The rear- 
admiral, having on the 11th parted from the East-India fleet, 
cruised, as he had been directed, between Cape OrtugaJ and the 
latitude of Belle-Isle, for the purpose of endeavouring to inter- 
cept the French convoy daily expected from North America. 
On the 15th his squadron captured the French 20-gun ship- 
corvette Maire-Guiton, one of M. Nielly's squadron, and 
recaptured 10 sail of the Newfoundland convoy, recently taken 
by the latter, and which the corvette was escorting to a port of 
France. It was the intelligence obtained from the prisoners in 
the recaptured vessels, as w6ll respecting the squadron of Eear- 
admiral Nielly, as respecting that on its way from the Chesa- 
peake under Kear-admiral Vanstabel, consisting, it now appeared, 
of four, instead of two sail of the line, and thus making, should 
the two squadrons unite, a force of nine sail of the line and 
several frigates and corvettes, that induced Eear-admiral Mon- 
tagu to detach the Venus to Lord Howe, requesting a reinforce- 
ment. He then, with his six two-deckers and remaining frigate, 
proceeded straight along the same parallel of longitude to the 
latitude (from 45° to 47° north) in which, according to the in^- 
formation of the prisoners, the Rochefort squadron had been di- 
rected to cruise ; in the hope of being in time to intercept the 
convoy, before M. Nielly could effect his junction with it, or, 


should the latter have done so, of soon receiving the expected 
reinforcement, and still accomplishing the object of his instruc- 

CJonsidering, from the conrse which the French fleet 
would probably steer, that Eear-admiral Montagu was in 
jeopardy, Lord Howe, at 4 a.m. on the 20th, made all sail, to 
save the squadron, if possible, from the hands of M. Yillaret. 
By noon on the 20th the British fleet was enabled to make good 
a course west by south. Nothing occurred worthy of notice 
until about 2 a.m. on the 21st, when the look-out i^ps made 
the signal for a strange fleet. This proved to be a part of the 
Lisbon convoy, taken by the Brest fleet, as already mentioned. 
Out fof 15 or 16 ships, brigs, and schooners, which made their 
appearance, 10 were secured, and, on the removal of their 
crews, burnt ; Lord Howe not wishing to weaken his crews by 
sending the prizes into port. The remainder of the convoy ef- 
fected their escape. 

The prisoners gave information that the f rench fleet, when 
they quitted it on the evening of the 19th, was between two and 
three degrees to the westward, and that it consisted of 26 sail of 
the line and four frigates. The additional sail of the line was, 
as we have stated, the Patriote from M. Nielly's division ; and 
the reduction in the number of ftigates arose, probably, from the 
frequent intercourse necessary to be maintained between the 
three French admirals, Yillaret, Vanstabel, and Nielly. A care- 
ful comparison of the logs of the different merchant-ships placed 
the French fleet on the day mentioned in latitude 47° 46' north, 
and longitude 11° 22' west of Greenwich. Among other par- 
ticulars gleaned from the prisoners were, the presence of Jean- 
Bon Saint-Andre, the intended employment of hot shot, and a^^ 
piece of information peculiarly gratifying to the British sailors, 
the alleged determination of the French oflBcers to engage at 
close quarters. 

No sooner did Lord Howe receive the exhilarating intelligence 
of the French fleets being so near, than he gave up the idea of 
joining Eear-admiral Montagu, whom he now considered to be 
far enough to the southward to be out of danger, and pressed 
his fleet in pursuit of M. Villaret. At noon on the 21st a fa- 
vourable change of wind enabled the fleet to make a great 
stretch to the northward and westward ; but, at noon on the 
22nd, the wind returned to its old quarter, and drove the fleet to 
the southward. On the 23rd, at 8 a.m., came into the fleet a 
Dutch doggar and two or three captured merchant-ships, which 


had parted from the French fleet two days hefore. At noon on 
the same day the wind again favoured the British ; so that by 
noon on the next day, the 24th, according to the logs of the re- 
captured vessels, Lord Howe was within five miles of the same 
longitude, and within half a degree of the same latitude as that 
in which the French fleet had been left on the 21st ; namely, in 
latitude 47° 34' north, and longitude 13° 56' west of Greenwich. 

After this the British fleet again fell off to nearly a west- 
south-west course, and so continued without any occurrence of 
moment happening until the 25th, at 4 a.m. ; when a French 
74-gun ship, with a merchant-brig in tow, was discovered at a 
great distance to windward, and a strange ship and brig, evidently 
. cruisers, to the eastward. Chase was given by the Audacious 
and the Niger frigate to the vessels to the eastward, and by the 
fleet in general to the line-of-battle ship to windward. The 
latter, casting off her prize, effected her escape, by manifest su- 
periority of sailing. The merchant-brig proved to be an 
American, laden with wine, and the line-of-battle ship, the 
Audacieux, on her way to the Brest fleet from M. Nielly's squad- 
ron; from which she had, on the preceding evening, parted 
company : as had also the two vessels in sight ; one, the 20-gun 
ship-corvette Eepublicaine, the other the 16-gun brig Inconnue. 
These, less fortunate than their consort, became the prizes of 
the ships that had chased them, and with the American brig, 
were committed to the flames. 

Having tacked in chase, the fleet, on the 25th at noon, again 
hauled on the starboard-tack, with the wind at north by east. 
On the 26th, at daylight, the fleet once more tacked, and at 
noon, the wind having shifted to west by south, steered to the 
northward. On the 27th, at 9 a.m., having got a few leagues 
to the northward of the latitude in which he had reason to think 
M. Villaret was cruising. Lord Howe bore up and ran to the 
eastward, with the wind, which had drawn more to the south- 
ward, on the starboard quarter. 

On the 28th, at 6 h. 30 m. a.m., latitude at noon 47° 34' 
north, longitude 13° 39' west, the wind fresh from south by 
west, with a very rough sea, the look-out frigates of the British 
fleet, then formed in the order of sailing, made the signal for a 
sail in the south-south-east, and immediately afterwards, for a 
strange fleet directly to windward. At 8 h. 15 m. a.m. Rear- 
admiral Pasley, in the Bellerophon, which ship, with the Bussel, 
Marlborough, and Thunderer, formed the weathermost division, 
was ordered to reconnoitre ; and at 9 a.h. the strange fl^eet, 


kaving wore, was seen, with topgallant sails set, bearing down 
towards the fleet of the British, Lord Howe now made the 
signal to prepare for battle, and at 9 h. 45 m. a.m., having pre- 
viously, for their safety, recalled the frigates, ordered the Belle- 
rophon, by signal, to shorten sail. At 10 a.m. the French fleet, 
Which consisted of 26 sail of the line ^ and five frigates, having 
approached within nine or ten miles, hauled to the wind on the 
larboard-tack, and lay to. Three of the ships were observed to 
be shifting their maintopsails, and one a maintopsail yard. 
After a considerable delay, during which a three-decker was 
seen to pass along the line as if to speak each ship, the French 
fleet fonned an indifferent line ahead. At 10 h. 35 m. a.m. 
tiie British fleet, having, by signal from ther Queen Charlotte,, 
wore round in succession, came to on the same tack as the 
French, and pressed to windward, in two columns, having the, 
weather division already named as a flying squadron. At 11 h. 
10 m. A.M. the signal was made, that there would be time for 
the ship's companies to dine. 

At 1 P.M., or a little after, the French ships filled and made 
sail, and soon afterwards commenced tacking. At 1 h. 30 m. 
P.M. the British flying squadron was ordered to harass the 
enemy's rear-ships ; and in a quarter of an hour afterwards, it 
appearing that the French were inclined to make off. Lord Howe, 
threw out the signal for a general chase. This was almost im- 
mediately followed by another, to engage the enemy as arriving 
up with him. 

At 2 h. 30 m. p.m., the Eussel, being nearly a mile to wind- 
ward of the other ships of her division, discharged a few shots at 
the enemy's sternmost ships as they were hauling on the star- 
board tack, and the latter fired in return. At a little before 
3 P.M. the Bellerophon, just as the enemy's rear-ship, a two- 
decker, was right abeam, tacked; as did, by signal, the whole 
of the British fleet, excepting the Eussel, Marlborough, Thun- 
derer, and frigates, which ships, for the purpose of getting into 
the wake of the French fleet, now close hauled in line ahead on 
the starboard tack, with the wind fresh and squally from the 
southward, stood on a little longer. 

At a few minutes past 5 p.m. the French van and centre 
shortened sail, in order, as it appeared to the British, that the 
Eevolutionnaire might exchange places with the rearmost two- 
decker.2 At 6 p.m. the Bellerophon, notwithstanding that this 

1 The same that are named in p. * According to M. Jean-Bon StdntrAn- 

141, with the addition of the Patriote, as dr^'s official report, this act of the French , 
noticed in p. 142. three-decker was not sanctioned by the' 

VOL. I. L 


day, from some defect in her trim, she was the slowest sailer of 
her division, got 'near enough, by haying embraced the proper 
moment for tacking, to open her fire upon the gallant French 
three-decker, now, of her own choice, the rearmost and most ex- 
posed ship of her fleet. At 6h. 20 m. p.m. the Marlborough, 
then with the Bussel and Thunderer on the Bellerophon*s weather 
quarter, was ordered to engage the rear of the enemy, who had 
just made sail. The BeUerophon, having had her main cap 
upset and disabled by a shot, was now obliged to take in her 
maintopsail. In consequence of this accident and of the 
wounded state of her mainmast, Bear-admiral Pasley, after 
having, for upwards of an hour and a quarter, been unsupported 
in his very gallant, engagement with the Eevolutionnaire, made 
the signal of inability, and bore up. 

By this time the Eussel, Marlborough, and Thunderer had 
backed their maintopsails and opened a distant fire upon the 
Eevolutionnaire, as well as upon the ship next ahead of her. 
Having just lost her mizenmast,^ and being otherwise much 
disabled by the well-directed fire of the BeUerophon, the Eevo- 
lutionnaire wore round on her heel, and put before the wind. 
Almost as soon as she had borne up, the crippled three-decker 
was intercepted and engaged by the Leviathan, who, with the 
Audacious, had passed to windward of the BeUerophon in the 
latter's disabled state. 

At 7 h. 30 m. p.m. the Queen Charlotte made the signal, " to 
assist ships engaged," and in a minute or two afterwards re- 
peated it, with the Eussel and Marlborough's pendants. Mean- 
while the Leviathan continued to engage the Eevolutionnaire 
untU the coming up of the Audacious. The Leviathan then 
passed on, fired a broadside at the next ship in the French line, 
but at 8 P.M., in compliance with the signals just made by the 
commander-in-chief (to form line ahead and astern as most con- 
venient, and for the BeUerophon, Leviathan, Eussel, and Marl- 
borough to leave oflf chase), dropped down towards the main 
body of the fleet. 

The Audacious, having placed herself on the Eevolutionnaire's 
lee quarter, poured in a heavy fire ; and, until recalled by signal, 

adndnl : " Un de nos vaisseaux, le R^vo- ne pouvions plus Tobeerver, il ftit engage 

Intionnaire, par des motifs que nous igno- par plusieurs vaisseaux Anglais." 
rons encore, avait diminu^ de voile k ^ She had caught fire in the top, and It 

I'apparition de I'ennemi. Malgr^ les sig- may have been cut away, in order that it 

naux que lui furent faits, il demeura sous might ^ot, in its crippled state, fall in- 

le voit et de I'arriere de Tarmee, en sorte board, 
qu'a I'entr^ de la nult, et lorsque noua 


the Enssel, who was at some distance to leeward, also fired at 
her. The Andacious and R^volutionnaire now became so 
closely engaged, and the latter so disabled in her masts and 
rigging, that it was with difficulty the former could prevent her 
hnge opponent from falling on board of her. Towards 10 p.m. 
the B^volutionnaire having, besides the loss of her mizenmast, 
had her fore and main yards and maintopsail yard shot away, 
dropped across the hawse of the Audacious; but the latter 
■ quickly extricated herself, and the French ship, with her fore- 
topsail full, but, owing to the sheets having been shot away, 
still flying, directed her course to leeward. 

The men quartered forward in the Audacious, declared that 
the E^volutionnaire struck her colours just as she got clear of 
them; and the ship's company cheered in consequence. The 
people of the Eussel declared, also, that the E^volutionnaire, as 
she passed under their stem, had no colours hoisted. That the 
latter was a beaten ship may be inferred from her having re- 
turned but three shots to the last broadside of the Audacious : 
moreover, her loss in killed and wounded amounted, if the 
French accounts are to be credited, to nearly 400 men. Still 
the Eevolutionnaire became no prize to the British ; owing 
partly to the disabled state of the Audacious, but chiefly be- 
cause the Thunderer, on approaching the latter, and being 
hailed to take possession of the French ship, made sail after her 
own fleet. 

Such was the crippled state of the Audacious, that it was 
some time before she was enabled to wear clear of the French 
line. Having effected this, she used every effort to repair her 
damages, in time to resume her station at daylight. The loss 
on board the ship (and the Audacious appears to have been the 
only ship that sustained any loss by the Edvolutionnaire's fire) 
bore no proportion to the extent of the injuries done to her 
masts, yards, rigging, and sails. She had but three men killed, 
and 19 (including three mortally) wounded. Just as daylight 
tiirrived, nine sail of French ships ^ made their appearance about 
three miles to windward. The Audacious, who was now with 
her standing rigging very indifferently stoppered, her foresail 
and three topsails unbent, and her main topsail in the top, in 

1 It is donbtfal what ships these were. was also not Ui distant. Moreover, two 

The sqoadron of M. Vanstabel consisted, small squadrons from Lorient and'Koche- 

besides bis prizes, stated to be 10 in nam- fort were cruising in the bay, one under 

ber, of eight square«rigged vessels, and he the command of Commodore Jean Joseph, 

was certainly within hearing of the firing Castagnier. 
on the 28th. The squadron of M. ITielly 


the act of being bent, put before the wind, with the main and 
foretopmast staysails only, and those ill set from the stays 
having been shot away. 

Fortunately, the prevailing haze brought down rain and thick 
weather, and screened the Audacious, in some degree, from the 
enemy's view. The greatest exertions were made by every 
officer and man to get the ship under sail ; but before that could 
be accomplished, the haze cleared, and discovered two ships in 
chase, which, in all probability, were the Audacieux and a ' 
frigate, detached by M. Villaret in search of the Revolutionnaire. 
At this time the Audacious passed her old opponent, without 
any mast standing, at the distance of about a mile and a half. 
Just as the Audacious had set sail enough to maintain her 
distance ahead of her pursuers from the southward, the French 
36-gun frigate Bellone, accompanied by a ship and brig-cor- 
vette, came rapidly up from the eastward. 

These, observing the shattered condition of the Audacious, the 
state of whose masts would not admit of an alteration in her, 
course, and encouraged by the proximity of their friends, whom 
they saw bearing down under all sail, stood athwart the crii)pled 
ship, and exchanged several shots with her. The two corvettes, ^ 
however, soon dropped astern, but the Bellone, for upwards of 
an hour, hung on the quarter of the Audacious, harassing, but 
not materially injuring her. 

Either feeling the effects of some of the 74's aftermost guns, • 
or tired of a vain pursuit, the frigate, at about half an hour after 
noon, after making a signal to her consorts astern, left off chase, 
and hauled to the wind. In a little while afterwards the weather 
again became hazy, and the Audacious got once more out of 
sight of her pursuers. Having run 24 leagues directly to lee- 
ward, and being unable to haul to the wind, the Audacious 
deemed it best to proceed straight into port, and accordingly, on 
the morning of the 3rd of June, anchored in Plymouth Sound. 
Fortunately for the Eevolutionnaire, she was soon found by the 
Audacieux ; who, taking the dismasted three-decker in tow, con- 
veyed her in safety to Rochefort.^ 

After the Audacious and Edvolutionnaire had parted company 
from their respective fleets, both of the latter continued on the . 
starboard tack during the remainder of the night, steering, under 
a press of sail, in a parallel direction. Every ship in the British 
fleet carried a light ; but none was observed to be carried by 

1 The similarity of name in, the ship succoured, the Revolutionnaire, threw a 
that had lought, and the ship that now great deal of confusion into the accounts. 


•any of the French ships.^ On the 29th, at daylight, the wind 
nBtill fresh from south by west, with a heavy head sea, the rival 
fleets were about six miles apart ; the fleet of the French on the 
weather bow of that of the British. At a little after 4 a.m., a 
strange line-of-battle ship, on the larboard tack, was observed 
stretching into the French line. This was the Audacieux; 
which ship, however, did not, as represented in most of the 
accounts, remain with M. Villaret, but was presently detached, 
jas already mentioned, with a frigate, in search of the Rdvolu- 

At 7 A.M., when the chasing ships of the preceding night, in 
obedience to a signal made by the Queen Charlotte, had fallen 
into their stations in line ahead and astern of her, as most con- 
venient. Lord Howe, with the view of making some impression 
on the enemy's rear, directed the ships of the fleet, formed thus : 
CsBsar, Queen, Russel, Yaliant, Koyal George, Invincible, Orion, 
Majestic, Leviathan, Queen Charlotte, Bellerophon, remainder 
•uncertain, to tack in succession. At 7h. 30 m. a.m., the fleet 
^ing now on the larboard tack, a signal was made to pass 
through the enemy's line, in order to obtain the weather-gage ; 
and at 7 h. 35 m^ a.m., another signal, giving permission to fire 
on the enemy in passing, but without the intention, on acpount 
-of the distance, to bring on an immediate general action .^ At 
the British van neared the French rear on the opposite tack; 
the latter fired, but at too great a distance to deserve a return, 
until about 20 minutes afterwards ; when the ships of the 
British fleet having hoisted the red ensign, the commander-in- 
chief the union at the main, and the other admirals their re- 
spective flags, the Caesar and Queen opened a fire in passing. 
. At 8 A.M. the van ships of the French began wearing in suo- 
<}e8sion, to support their rear thus menaced, and, running tp 
leeward of their line, edged down towards the centre and van of 
the British. Having passed the rear of her fleet, -the leading 
French ship, then distant about three miles from the British 
centre, hauled close to the wind, as did successively the ships 
astern of her. At 9 a.m., or a few minutes afteri the whole of 

1 And yet the following statement ap- has here fallen into'"an"en'or. If the Eng- 

pears in a French account of this rencontre : lishfleet were to pass through the enemy's 

"II ^tait iiuic, et la flolte fran9aise avait line, it is obvious that the fleets, during 

faiss^ des fanaux a tous ses md,t8 d'artimon. the operation of passing (hr'ough, could not 

1(68 Anglais tin irent par Imiter cet exem- be at too great a distance to engage. The 

pie, apres avoir long-temps hesite h. le fact is, that in endeavouring to get th6 

fedre, et les deux flottes purent enfin weather-gage, the van of the English fleei 

iB'apercevoir." — Victoires et Conquitts, passed astern of the -rear of the enenur'B 

iome lii., p. 15. ImR.— Note, by the JSditor,^ 
- > It^is eyidenttliatthe navalhigtoriaii 


the French fleet being then on the larboard tack, the same as the 
British fleet, the van-ships of the former again bore away, and 
at 10 A.M. opened their fire, but without effect, upon the van- 
ships of the latter. Soon afterwards the distance between the 
two vans became lessened ; and the liivincible (who gallantlj 
luffed out of the line to get nearer to the enemy), Koyal George, 
Valiant, Eussel, Queen, and Caesar, in succession, exchanged 
broadsides with the French van, and did an evident injury to 
the leading ship, the Montagnard. Nor did the British van 
escape with entire impunity, several of the ships having had 
their rigging and sails, and one or two their masts and yards, 
considerably damaged. At 11 h. 30 m. a.m., the signal was 
made to tack in succession, with the view of passing through 
the enemy's line. Finding, however, that the British van was 
not sufficiently advanced to cut off more than a few of the 
French rear ships, Lord Howe presently annulled the signal, and 
continued to stretch on upon the larboard tack. At half-past 
noon the signal to tack was repeated ; but, owing to the smoke, 
it remained for awhile unseen, and, :w^hen seen, was only, as we 
shall proceed to show, partially obeyed. 

The leading ship in the British line, the Cs&sar, making the 
signal of "inability to tack," wore, and ran past the eighth 
ship of her own line (and which eighth ship, the Majestic, 
appears to have been at least three-quarters of a mile astern of 
her leader, the Orion), before she hauled close to the wind on the 
starboard tack, and cut through ; and, even then, the Osdsar 
kept rather off, instead of close to the wind ; or, in other words, 
from the enemy, instead of towards him. At a few minutes 
before 1 p.m., just as the Terrible, the third French ship from 
the rear, by heavy pitching, had carried away her foretopmast, 
the Queen wore, and, rounding to imder her second astern, 
luffed up, so as to open a distant fire on the third ship of the 
French van. The Queen then passed along the French line, and, 
by the. time she had reached the centre ship, became closely 

The signal to engage and cut through the enemy's line, 
hoisted at 1 h 15 m. p.m., was then flying ; but the Queen had 
flustained too much damage to haul up for that purpose, and at 
2 h. 45 m. made the signal of disability. At 3 h. 25 m. p.m., 
having passed the last ship in the French line, the Queen 
ceased firing, and with difficulty wore round on the larboard 
tack. Neither the Bussel nor the Valiant, both of which had 
wore, succeeded in getting very near to the enemy. The Boyal 


Greorge was the first ship that tacked ; and the Invincible took 
the earliest opportunity of wearing nnder her stem : they both 
luffed np on the starboard tack, but, on account of the progress 
then made by the French fleet, could only succeed in bringing 
to action the two rearmost French ships, the Tyrannicide and 

It is now time to attend to the Queen Charlotte. The Ismail 
quantity of sail carried by the OsBsar, namely, trebles-reefed top- 
sails and foresail, with the maintopsail part of the time unbent 
on account of a split in it (yet her signal to set more sail had 
been twice made), and some unexplained cause of delay in the 
Majestic, rendered it very difGcult for the Queen Charlotte to 
keep astern of her leader, and drove her, in consequence of the 
small sail she was obliged to carry, considerably to leeward of 
the line ; which line, from these causes, had become very loose 
and irregular. 

In this state Lord Howe, observing Hiat the Queen was suffer- 
ing greatly from the enemy's fire, and apprehensive that, owing 
to the Caesar's inattention to the signal to carry more sail, the 
French ships, all of which carried their mainsails, and the greater 
part of them single-reefed topsails, would pass so far ahead as 
to defeat his intended manoeuvre, resolved himself to set the 
example of breaking through the enemy's line. 

Accordingly, at 1 h. 30 m. p.m., carrying now double-reefed 
topsails, courses, jib, and maintopmast staysail, the Queen 
Charlotte tacked, and hauled up to east-south-east, passed 
«stem and to windward of the Caesar, then steering east by 
north, she passed astern and to leeward of the Orion, who had 
not yet gone about Stretching boldly on, heedless of the fire 
opened upon her from the French line, the Queen Charlotte 
arrived abreast of the opening between the sixth and seventh 
ehips from the rear ; but, doubtful if she could pass through 
without getting foul, the Queen Charlotte kept away, and, pour- 
ing a broadside into the lee boom of the Sole, as was evidently 
the sixth ship's name, repeated it while luffing close round 
her stem : a manoeuvre which we have endeavoured to illus- 
trate by the Diagram in p. 152. 

The Belierophon and Leviathan, the Queen Charlotte's two 
eeconds, quickly tacked after their gallant chief. The Beliero- 
phon succeeded in passing ahead of the Terrible ; who, from the 
leeward position of the Tyrannicide and Indomptable, was in 
reality the rearmost ship in the French line, and who, on 
account of the loss of her foretopmast, had herself dropped 


somewhat astern; thus leaving two ships between her, the 
Bellerophon, and the space through which the Queen Charlotte 
had passed. Having, previously to tacking, had her wheel shot 
away, the Leviathan could only fetch to windward of the two 
disabled French ships already named. 



•^ ^ 



As soon as possible affcer she had gone through the French 
line, the Queen Charlotte put about on the larboard tack, and, 
hoisting the signal for a general chase, loft the two disabled 
ships. Tyrannicide and Indomptable, to be brought to by her 
friends astern, and pursued the Temble, then, using her utmo^ 
eflforts to regain her station, with her foretopmast gone as 
already mentioned ; and who, (the French van having by this 
time wore round on the starboard tack,) reached nearly the 
centre of her fleet before the Queen Charlotte could get near 
enough to open a fire upon her. 

The Orion, who had wore next tp the Invincible, passed 

.1794.] . LORD HOWE 03J THE TWENTY-lttNTH OF MAyI 153 

between the Tyrannicide and Indomptable, then aft some dis- 
• tance apart. Being in too disabled a state to obey the signal 
to tack in chase, the Orion bore up, and on the Queen Char- 
lotte's making her signal to engage, placed herself, with her 
< maintopsail aback, upon the lee-quarter of the Indomptable. By 
the time the Orion had poured two broadsides into her disabled 
r antagonist, her place alongside of the latter was taken by the 
Barfleur, who had come up under a press of sail, and a few of 
whose shot, as she commenced engaging, appear to have struck 
the Orion. Notwithstanding the additional fire thus poureft 
upon her by the three-decker, the Indomptable bravely kept her 
colours flying. One of the other crippled French ships, however, 
appears to have struck hers ; but, in a few minutes afterwards, 
receiving a rememorative broadside from one of her consorts, 
she quickly rehoisted them. 

The conduct of the Caesar, in running down her own line 
. instead of hauling up towards that of the enemy, was considered 
by the French admiral, and very naturally, as the sole effect of 
the heavy fire opened by his van : hence, says Jean-Bon Saint- 
Andre, **the advanced ships of the enemy, being forced to give 
way, put about towards their rear." Whether animated by this 
apparent shyness in his opponent, and resolved to bring on an 
action, or apprehensive that his rear wouW be cut off unless he 
promptly gave it support, M. Yillaret made the signal for his 
fleet to wear in succession. By an extraordinary coincidence in 
reference to what had occurred in the British fleet, the French 
van-ship, the Montagnard, with her masts aH standing, but 
disabled, no doubt, in rigging and hull, continued in -apparerit 
contempt of the signal, to stand on upon the larboard jtack. 

Another strange coincidence it was, that the French admiral, 
finding his signal not obeyed, wore out of the line, And, as gal- 
lantly as judiciously, led his own fleet on the starboard tack to 
the rescue of his two disabled ships in the rear. Nor could 
Xord Howe, in the unsupported state of the Queen Charlotte, 
who had only near her the Bellerophon and Leviathan, and they 
in a crippled state upon her lee-quarter, prevent the complete 
success of the French admiral's well-designed, and, as acknow- 
ledged by many in the British, fleet, prettily-jexecuted ma- 

AU the Queen Charlotte could do was to wear, And, with the 
other ships which, at 4 p.m., she called about her, run down 
to cover the Queen and Royal George, towards whom the 
Trench admiral now seemed to be bending his course. This 




moYement again brought the two yans within random shot, and 
some firing was interchanged, in which the Glory had an oppor- 
tunity of distinguishing herself: she passed three French ships 
in succession within pistol-shot, and, giving them a broadside 
apiece, succeeded in knocking away a topmast from each of two 
of them. 

But even this did not bring on a general engagement ; for the 
French admiral, satisfied apparently with having extricated his 
two disabled ships, wore round, and, standing away large on the 
larboard tack, rejoined his rear. The British fleet wore in the 
same direction, but kept the weather-gage ; and at a few minutes 
after 5 p.m. all firing ceased. Each fleet now busied itself in 
forming a line on the larboard tack, and in repairing the damages 
occasioned .by this smart, though partial contest. 

The lower deck of the Queen Charlotte, owing to the lowness 
of her ports (four feet and a half) and the roughness of the sea, 
was fall of water ; and the pumps, during the gi*eater part of 
the ensuing night, were kept constantly going. In other re- 
spects, the Queen Charlotte, considering her exposed situation, 
suffered very little. Of the 12 or 14 ships that had the good 
fortune to be engaged, the Queen, Eoyal George, Boyal Sove- 
reign, and Invincible, were those only whose casualties were of 
serious consequence.' 

1 The following is an account of tiie damages sustained by some of the ships, M 
extracted from their logs : — 

Principal Damage m 

Cffisar • . 

Qaeen . • 

Bnssel^. . 
Invincible • 

Orion • . 
Majestic • 

Bamillies . 
Queen Charlotte 


Boyal Sovereign 

Leaky from shot-holes : two 

24-pounders split. 
Struck repeatedly, but not so 

low as to occasion leaks. 

Leaky from shot-holes. 

Hull not materially hurt 



Ditto, a gun dismounted. 
Hull not materially hurt. 


Masts and Rigging. 
Fore-yard cut; also stays and 

Mizen topmast and fore-yard shot 

away: mainmast, bowsprit, and 

fore topmast shot through 
Bowsprit shot through; bncis, 

Mizentopsall yard shot away': 

shrouds, braces, &c. 
Maintopmast shot away: main 

and fore masts and yards shot 

Mizenyard shot in two: main- 
mast and maintopmast, mizeh* 

topmast, and spanker-bocu 

shot through. 
Mizenmast cut through (betweeii 

poop and quarter-deck) by a 

36-pound shot. 
Sails, rigging, ftc, cut 
Mizenyard injured ; also rig|^|^ 

Sails, rigging, &c. 
Mainmast, maintopmast bov- 

sprit, aiMi main-yaid injnxod. 


The CsBsar had three seamen and marines killed, and 19 
wounded; the Queen, her master (William Mitchell), and 21 
petty-officers, seamen, and marines or soldiers^ killed, and her 
captain, who lost his leg at the same instant that the master 
fell, sixth lieutenant (Kobert Lawrie), and 25 petty-officers, 
seamen and marines or soldiers wounded; the Eoyal George, 
including her eighth lieutenant, George Heighman, and one 
midshipman, 15 killed, and 23 wounded; the Invincible, 10 
killed, and 21 woxmded, including one midshipman, William 
Whithurst ; the Koyal Sovereign, eight killed, and 22 wounded ; 
the Orion and EamiUies, three killed each; and the Defence, 
Majestic, and Queen Charlotte, each one killed, the latter her 
sixth lieutenant, Eoger A. Eawlinson. The Defence and Ma- 
jestic had also, one three and the other thirteen wounded: 
making a total loss to the British fleet, of 67 killed, and 128 

Such were the exertions on board the Queen, that, before dark, 
a maintopsail yard was got up for a fore-yard, a foretopgallant- 
mast for a mizentopmast, a foretopgallant yard for a mizentop* 
sail yard ; new sails were also bent fore and aft, and the ship 
was again reported ready for service. 

That several of the French ships were damaged in their masts, 
yards, and jrigging, was evident to the British fleet ; but what 
particular ships, exclusive of the Indomptable and Tyrannicide, 
had so suffered, cannot at this late day be ascertained. 

From the moment that he gained sight of the British fleet on 
the morning of the 28th, until he wore on the afternoon of the 
29th, the French admiral possessed the weather-gage of his op- 
ponent. M. Yillaret, therefore, had it at his option to bring on 
a general action. His declining to do so may raise an inference, 
that he considered himself to be inferior in point of* force. To 
ascertain in what relation as to strength the two parties really 
stood on the morning of the first skirmish, shall therefore be our 
next inquiry ; and, as this is the first instance of a meeting be- 
tween two hostile fleets, we shall be obliged, in describing the 
force on each side, to enter more into minutiss than is likely to 
be necessary on any future occasion. 

With one or two exceptions, the British ships mounted pre- 
cisely the same number and nature of long guns as are assigned 
to their several classes in the abstract for the year 1793. The 

1 Detachments of the Queen's and 29 th pear to have served in a similar manner 
ref^ments were serving on board the on board the French fleet. 
Btitith fleet as marines, and soldiers ap- 


first exception is the Eoyal Sovereign ; that shipliaving received 
on board two 24-poiinder8 for her entrance-ports on the second 
deck, in lieu of two 12-ponnder8 taken from her forecastle. The 
next exception is the Gibraltar, formerly a Spanish 80-gun ship: 
)ier first-deck ports, being found too small to receive 32-pounder8, 
were fitted with 24s ; of which she mounted 62 on her two prin- 
oipal decks, along with eighteen 9-pounders on her quarter-deck 
and forecastle.^ 

The carFonades of such ships as mounted any appear, with 
two exceptions, to have been of no higher caliber than 18- 
pounders. The names of the Alfred and Bamillies occur in the 
list we referred to at a former page ; ^ the one with four, the 
other with eight (two on the forecastle) 12-pounder carronades. 
The only ships in Lord Howe's fleet that appear, besides, to 
have mounted any carronades, are the Leviathan and Marl- 
borough, and those carronades, two on board of each, were 68- 
pounders. Some of the ships, and among them the Caasar, had 
no poop-bulwark; others were ordered poop- carronades on a 
subsequent day ; which shows that, at this time, they had none. 
In order to make ample allowance for any ships that may have 
procured carronades without a special order (and no general 
order, as a peremptory one, then existed), we shall consider ten 
ehips as having mounted six 18-pounder carronades each; 
making, with the Leviathan and Marlborough's four 68-pounders, 
64 carronades for the whole British fleet. 

: As to the complements, although a slight reduction in the 
crews of British ships of war appears to have been ordered since 
the preceding April, and although there was notoriously, at this 
period, a scarcity of seamen in the British navy, wo shall, mean- 
ing to make a corresponding allowance on the other side, assign 
to Lord Howe's ships the establishment ordered for each claiss 
at the commencement of the" year 1793;^ deducting, of course, 
the widow's men, and adding to the crews of several of the flag- 
ships the customary supernumeraries, namely, 50 men for the 
commander-in-chief, 25 for each of the two other fuU admirals, 
cmd 15 for every one of the four rear-admirals. This will make 
the' aggregate complements of the British fleet amount to 17,241 
men and boys. With respect to the size of the ships, having 

, ^ See Appendix, Annual Abstract, No. H; of one of the 80s, see K; of two of the 

1. For the guns of the two 18-pdr. lOOs, 748 (the Brunswick and Valiant), see M; 

as named with the other ships, in the list and for the guns of the remaining fifteen 

•At p. 139, see D ; for those of the single 74b, see X. or 0. 

12-pdr. 100s, (substituting two 24 for two * See Appendix, No. 3. 

12 pounders) see E; of the four 98s, see ^ See Appendix, Amuial Abstract,No. 1. 


before us the registered tonnage of every one of them, we can,* 
without any difficulty, state the aggregate amount. 

Nor will there be so much difficulty in getting at the arma-^ 
ment of the French ships as may at first sight appear. Of the-, 
many French line-of-battle ships captured by the British, none 
have been found to mount fewer, although some have occasion- 
ally more, long guns, than the number established upon their 
particular class by the ordinance of 1786 ; and which, with the 
brass carronades since established, are'fully particularized in the 
small table given at a preceding page. • • • 

The French fleet, it will be remeriibered, consisted, on the 
morning of the 28th, of one 120, three 110, four 80, and eighteen 
74-gun ships.^ The two newest of the 80s, the Indomptable^ 
and Sans-Pareil, were armed precisely as the 80 in the table at 
p. 59 : the other two appear to have mounted 8s instead of 12s. 
on the quarter-deck and forecastle. The following, then, appear, 
to have been the carriage long guns and carronades mounted on- 
each side : — 

Long gnns. 


















LoDg guns. 


36-pounder8 . 




• • 




• • 




• • 




• • 






brass . 






In stating the complements of the French ships, we shall, 
with a certainty of not overrating them, follow the establish- 
ment of 1786, or that expressed in the table, at p. 59. The fact 
is, nearly all French ships carried a greater number of men than 
that regulation permits ; and it is this assumed overplus that 
constitutes the allowance to which we referred. 

The size of the French ships is a matter of minor importance 
compared with the guns and crews ; but, even here, the number 
of French ships of all classes, which the British have captured, 
enables us to adopt an average that cannot be materially wrong. 
For instance ; 2600 tons for the 120 ; 2350, for each of the 110s ; 

1 See pw 141. 














2220, for each of the 80s; and 1860, for each of the 74g. 
Having, m order to show in what manner our statements are 
grounded, premised these particulars, we present the following: 
as the 

Comparative Force of the Two Fleets, on the Morning of May 28, 

ShipB Ko. 

Broadside-guns < y,' 

Crews Agg. No. 

Size „ tons 

On the morning of May 28, consequently, there was not much 
to deter the French admiral from engaging, nnless he saw, with 
Jean-Bon Saint- Andrd's eyes, "30 British sail of the line" in- 
stead of 26. It is true that there was, in Lord Howe's fleet, one 
two-decker more than we have named : the Charon, late a 44, 
now a hospital-ship. From being stationed in the rear of her 
own, and therefore at a proportionably greater distance from the 
French fleet, her two rows of ports must have been more evident 
than her size, and may have given rise to the supposition that 
she was a ship of the line in reserve. 

We Bay not much to deter M. Villaret, because, under all the 
circumstances, no imputation of cowardice can attach, simply 
because a French fleet forbears to attack an English one numeri- 
cally equal. Moreover, the French could plainly discern among 
the English ships seven three-deckers ; while tbey themselves 
possessed but four. It was not probably known to them, that 
four of those seven three-deckers were of inferior force to four 
of their own two-deckers, and that the smallest of their four 
three-deckers was of superior force to the heaviest ship in the 
British fleet. For instance, a British 98-gun ship throws, in 
broadside weight of metal, 958 lbs. ; a French second-class 80- 
gun ship (the 80 in the table at p. 59 throws 39 lbs. more,) 1079 
lbs. ; a French 110-gun ship, 1278 lbs. ; while the Queen Char- 
lotte (reckoning, as in all other cases, the long guns only) threw 
no more than 1158 lbs. One circumstance, if true, brings the 
two fleets a trifle nearer to an equality. It is stated in the 
French accounts, that the Patriote had on board 550 sick, being 
upwards of three-fourths in number of her proper crew. 

The separation, on the evening of the 28th, of the Audacious 
and R^volutionnaire left the numbers still equal, but reduced the 
strength of M. Villaret's fleet, in the ratio of the difference in 
force between a British 74 and a French 110 gun ship. With 


respect to the battle of the following day, the 29th, Jean-Bon 
Saint- Andr^ attributed his failure, partly to the disobedience of 
hLs van^ship, the Montagnard, in not having tacked when ordered, 
whereby the weather-gage was lost ; but principally, to the (most 
people will think extraordinary) circumstance, that the British, 
for all they had " 30 sail of the line," set sail and ran away.* 

Having established, or, which was the same thing, asserted, 
these facts, the Conventional deputy assured the French people, 
that the battle of the 29th, although "not decisive," had been 
" eminently glorious.*' This rodomontade apart. Admiral Vil- 
laret, in recovering the Indomptable and Tyrannicide, at a time 
when they were all but captured, gave an undoubted proof of his 
skill and gallantry. On the other hand, some of the British 
ships, besides the CsBsar, were badly manoeuvred. It was this 
apparent hesitation to follow their own admiral that encouraged 
the French admiral, when in the very act of abandoning his 
rearmost ships, to wear round and attempt their recovery ; a 
plan in which, as we have seen, he but too well succeeded. 

On the 29th, at simset, the two fleets, each on the larboard 
tack, with the wind fresh at south-west, were about ten miles 
apart, that of the French bearing north-west from that of the 
British, or away on the latter's lee bow. As the evening ad- 
vanced, the weather thickened, and remained foggy during the 
night. On the 30th, however, at about 9 a.m., it cleared a little, 
and discovered a part of the French fleet, still in the north-west, 
but on the starboard tack. 

On perceiving the British, the French hauled round upon their 
former tack. The British admiral immediately made the signal 
for forming the line ahead and astern of him as most convenient, 
and upon the Invincible's signifying by signal that she had 
sprung a lower mast or yard, gave her permission to quit the 
line ; out of which, being in a disabled state, she was towed by 
one of the frigates. 

Soon after 10 a-m. the signal was made to form in two 
columns, and at 10 h. 15 m. a.m. for the starboard division to 
keep in the wake of the Queen Charlotte, who set her foresail 
and bore up towards the enemy. At 10 h. 30 m. a.m. the admiral 
asked the ships of the fleet, by signal, if they were in a condition 
to renew the action. The whole answered in the affirmative, 
except the Csasar. 

The weather beginning again to get very thick. Lord Howe 
made the signal for the fleet to come to the wind on the larboard 

I Monitenr of July 5. 

160 . BRITISH AND FRENCH ^l4EETS. [1794. 

taok in snccession ; and, shortly afterwaxds, for the van to keep 
closer order M. Villai*et had now disappeared; and the fog 
became so dense that, at times during the remainder of the day, 
no ship of the British fleet could see her second ahead or astern. 
The ships, in consequence, became much scattered. It was, in 
all probability, the sight of 'six of these ships in a different 
direction from that in which the body of the British fleet was 
supposed to lie, that occasioned Jean-Bon Saint- Andre to state 
in his oflScial report, that Rear-admiral Montagu, with his 
division, had joined Lord Howe during the fog. 

On the 31st, at about 9 a.m., the weather again cleared, and 
the British ships hastened to get into their stations. At noon 
the French fleet was descried to the northward, and was plainly 
seen to consist of 32 sail, including 26 of the line ; but, to the 
s^irprise of the British, nearly the whole of the ships appeared in 
a perfect state. At 2 p.m. Lord Howe bore up ; and the French, 
having previously edged away a little, formed their line on the 
larboard tack. 

At 3 h. 30 m. p.m. Lord Howe made the signal for the ships of 
the fleet to come to the wind together on the larboard tack, and, 
SQon afterwards, to form the larboard line of bearing ; the ships 
edging away together towards the enemy. Soon after 5 pjc., at 
which time the two fleets, estimating from the centre of each, 
were about five miles apart, successive signals were made for the 
British van, centre, and rear, to engage the van, centre, and rear 
of the enemy. 

Several of the French ships, as if M. Villaret expected an 
immediate attack, were observed to exchange places in the line ; 
and, although many of the heavy sailers among the British ships 
were a long way astern, a general action might probably have 
been brought on that evening. But the scene of confusion, 
that had occurred two days before, induced the British admiral 
to prefer a daylight contest, when there could be no difficulty in 
understanding the signals ; and he accordingly, at a few minutes 
past 7 P.M., hauled to the wind on the larboard tack, to put that 
plan into operation. 

Considering it likely that the French admiral, in order to 
weather the British fleet on the opposite or starboard tack, 
would make sail after dark, Lord Howe ordered that every 
ship should carry commanding sail all night, and judiciously , 
stationed the Phaeton and Latona frigates about a mile to lee- 
ward of his own fleet, for the purpose of watching the motion^ : 
of that of M. Yillaret ; to whom we shall now pay some atten- 


tion, leaving Lord Howe to complete his arrangements for the • 
awfal bnsinesA of the ensuing morn. 

When the French admiral, in the battle of the 29th, wore 
round to support his rear, he was followed, as already stated, by 
every ship except the Montagnard : the latter stood on upon the 
larboard tack, and, keeping that course too long, parted com- 
pany. The Seine frigate was sent to bring her back ; but neither 
ship, owing, we may suppose, to the foggy state of the weather 
was able to rejoin the fleet. At 8 p.m. two ships, answering to 
the description of the Montagnard and Seine, were descried from 
the mast-heads of some of the British ships, at a great distance 
to windward, close hauled on the starboard tack, the French fleet 
then equally distant to leeward, and consequently out of sight of 
the former. At 8 h. 30 m. p.m. the 74-gun ship Trente-un-Mai, 
Captain Honore Ganteaume, one of the Cancale squadron, joined 
Admiral Villaret ; as, on the following day, did Eear-admiral 
Nielly, with the Sans-Pareil, Trajan, and T^m^raire, formerly 
mentioned.^ M. Yillaret took this opportunity of sending home 
the crippled ship Indomptable, attended, as it would appear, by 
the Mont Blanc 74, to see her safe into port. 

The French admiral was thus left with 26 sail of the line ; 
and M. Villaret had certainly no reason to feel less confident in 
his strength from what he had witnessed at the last meeting. 
Kor was the bringing to of the English fleet, on the evening of 
the 31st, calculated to inspire the French oflScers and crews with 
any higher opinion of their adversaries. The French officers, 
indeed, having made sure of being attacked, too hastily attri- 
buted the sudden hauling up of the British to disinclination : 
Captain Courand, in particular, made a sneering remark on the 
subject to Captain Troubridge, who, with the Castor's purser and 
about 50 of her crew, was a prisoner on board the Sans-Pareil. 

The British fleet continued, during the night, standing to the 
westward ; and at daybreak on the 1st of June, latitude 47° 48' 
north, longitude 18° 30' west, the wind a moderate breeze from 
south by west, and the sea tolerably smooth, the French fleet, 
which, as wisely conjectured by Lord Howe, had carried a press 
of sail all night, was descried about six miles off, on the star- 
board or lee bow of the British fleet, and stiU steering in a line of 
battle upon the larboard tack. 

In a very popular narrative, intended to illustrate a set of 
drawings of the action by Mr. Kobert Cleverly, the French fleet 
is represented to have been on the starboard or lee quarter of 

1 See pp. 140, 141. 
VOL. I. M 


the British fleet ; and upon this the writer founds his ajssertion, 
that Lord Howe was mistaken in supposing that M. ViUaret in- 
tended carrying sail to weather him.* The fact is, the superior 
sailing of ihe French ships had enabled M. Yillaret so to fore- 
reach upon the British fleet, that, had daylight been deferred a 
few hours, or another fog intervened, he would probably, have 
weathered his on the contrary tack, and effected his escape. 

At 5 A.M. the ships of the British fleet, by signal, bore up to- 
gether and steered north-west, and at 6 h. 15 m. a.m., north. 
At about 7 h. 10 m. a.m. the fleet again hauled to the wind on 
the larboard tack. The French fleet was now plainly seen to 
consist of the same number of ships of the line as on the preced- 
ing evening ;2 and the whole, except one or two, appeared com- 
plete in their masts and rigging. 

At 7 h. 16 m. A.M. Lord Howe signalled that he should attack 
the centre of the enemy, and at 7 h. 25 m. a.m., that he should 
pass through the enemy's line, and engage to leeward. The two 
fleets being now about four miles apart, and the crews of the 
British ships, after the fatigue of sitting up three nights, needing 
some refreshment. Lord Howe hove to, and gave the men their 
breakfasts. This over, the British fleet, at 8 h. 12 m. a.m., fiUed 
and bore down on the enemy. In a few minutes afterwards a 
signal was thrown out for each ship to steer for, and indepen- 
dently engage, the ship opposed to her in the enem/s line. 

Some changes now became requisite in the British line, in order 
that the French three-deckers (into one of which, the E^publi- 
cain, M. Nielly, had shifted his flag) and other heavy ships might 
be suitably opposed. With this view, the Koyal Sovereign ex- 
changed places with the Marlborough, the Barfleur with the 
Livincible, and the Eoyal George with the Montagu; and, as 
soon as the several ships had got to their new stations, the Bri- 
tish fleet was formed in line abreast, thus : Gsasar (van-ship), 
Bellerophon, Leviathan, Eussel, Boyal Sovereign, Marlborou^, 
Defence, Lnpregnable, Tremendous, Barfleur, Invincible, Cullo- 
den, Gibraltar, Queen Charlotte, Brunswick, Valiant, Orion, 
Queen, Eamillies, Alfred, Montagu, Koyal George, Majestic, 
Glory, Thunderer.' The frigates and smaller vessels were, as 

1 Narrative, &c. published by M. de c<Micarrent testimony, no English writnr 

Posset p- 14. has admitted the French fleet to have ooo- 

* " Counted 26 line-of>battle ships, six sisted of fewer than 27, and some have 

frigates and corvettes ; 13 ships ahead, numbered it at 28, sail of the line, 
and 12 ditto astern, of the French admiral." * A contemporary, uninformed appa- 

— Queen Charlotte^s log. See also Lord rently of the changes that had taken place 

Howe's letter in London Gazette of June about an hour before the commencoiieot 

11, 1794. **La flotte de la tepublique of the battle, places the ships in line as 

tftait compost de 26 vaisseaux."— ifoni- they had previously been formed. See 

imr of July 5. Notwithstanding this Brenton's Naval History. voL U, p. 292. 


usual, stationed in the rear : it may suffice to mention that the 
Pegasus was repeater of signals to the Queen Charlotte ; the 
Niger, to the £oyal Sovereign, and the Aquilon, to the Eoyal 

The French fleet was drawn up in close head-and-stem line, 
bearing about east and west ; and, as far as can be collected 
from the French accounts, the following is the order in which 
the ships were placed, beginning at the van, or west end of the 
line: Trajan, Eole, America, Temeraire, Terrible, Imp^tueui, 
Mucins, Tourville, Gaspaim, Convention, Trente-un-Mai, Tyr 
rannicide, Juste, Montagne, Jacobin, Achille, Yengeur, Patriote, 
Northumberland, Entreprenant, Jemmappes, Neptune, Pelletier, 
Bepublicain, Sans-Pareil, Scipion.^ Of iiie French frigates 
we are not able to state more, than that the Tamise (late British 
Thames), Captain Jean-Marthe-Adrien L*Hermite, was the 
repeater of the Montagne. Both the English and the French 
ships were carrying single-reefed topsails : of the latter, some 
were lying to, and others backing and filling, to preserve their 
stations ; and the former were steering about north-west, with a 
fresh breeze at south by west, and, from the reduced sail they 
were under, were going at the rate of very little more than five 
knots an hour. 

At 9h. 24 m. a.m. (Queen Charlotte's time) the French van 
oi>ened a distant fire upon the British van, particularly upon the 
Defence, who was rather ahead of her line ; which line, only a 
quarter of an hour before, had been as perfect as it could well be 
formed, and had inspired the veteran chief with the most 
sanguine hopes of success in his plan, that of each ship cutting 
through the line astern of her proper opponent, and engaging 
her to leeward. After having, at 8 h. 38 m. a.m., hauled down 
the preparative flag from the signal to engage (No. 36), Lord 
Howe emphatically shut his signal-book, as if he considered 
that, for the present at least, it would no more be wanted. Not 
many minutes afterwards, however, he had to reopen it, to call 
upon the Gibraltar, Culloden (who had backed both fore and 
main topsails), and Brunswick, to make more sail, and soon had 
the mortification to observe the Eussel, and, above all, his van- 
ship, the Csesar, with their maintopsails aback, although neither 
was within gun-shot of the enemy. 

1 No two EogUsh accounts agree as to dr^'s report, did not lose a spar, and vice 

the disposition, or even the names, of the versd. The liue, as here given, reconciles 

sliips in the French line ; but they all those important differences, and, upon the 

ooucor in so ttatiooing the ships whose whole, is as correct, we believe as can 

names are correcay given, that those dis- anywhere he obtained. 
masted, aocoztUng to Jean-Boa Saint-An- 


Lord Howo s attention was presently called to a more inte- 
resting subject. At 9h. 30 m. a.m. the Queen Charlotte, then, 
with the signal for close action at her mast-head, steering a 
slanting course direct for the larboard quarter of the Montague, 
and being distant from her about a random shot, was cannonaded 
by the third ship in the French admiral* s rear, the Vengeur, a 
portion of whose fire was 'necessarily intercepted by the Bruns- 
wick, the latter having obeyed the signal to make more sail, and 
become, in consequence, further advanced towards the enemy. 
Instead of returning the Yengeur's fire, the Queen Charlotte, 
desirous to be the first through the enemy's line, set topgallant- 
sails and let fall her foresail. This presently carried her past 
the Vengeur, and abreast of the next ship, the AchiUe, who now 
opened her broadside. 

At 9 h. 52 m. a.m. the Queen Charlotte returned this fire ; but, 
meaning it only as a mask to his principal object, a decisive 
attack upon the Montague, Lord Howe gave orders that the 
guns upon the third and quarter-decks only should be fired. 
The oflScers stationed at the first and second decks, however, 
hearing the firing over their heads, supposed that they were 
at liberty to begin, and opened accordingly ; but the seamen 
reloaded their guns with so much celerity, that no* delay oc- 
curred in manning those on the opposite side ready for the crash 
they were intended to make in the stem of the Montague. 

Just as the 'Queen Charlotte, having arrived abreast, and 
within about two ships* length, of the larboard quarter of the 
Montague, had put her helm up to pass astern of the latter, the 
Jacobin was seen stretching ahead under the Montague's lee, 
as if afraid to encounter the broadside, which the Charlotte, in 
her passage through the line, would discharge into her bows. 
Passing close under the stem of the Montague, so close thAt the 
fly of the French ensign, as it waved at her flagstaff", brushed 
the main and mizen shrouds of the Queen Charlotte, the latter 
poured into the French three-decker a tremendous broadside. 
By this time the Jacobin had got nearly abreast of the Montagne 
to leeward, the very position which the Queen Charlotte herself 
had intended to occupy. Scarcely, however, had Lord Howe 
expressed his regret at the circxraistance, than Mr. Bowen, the 
master, observing by the motion of her rudder that the Jacobin 
was in the act of bearing up, ordered the helm of the Queen 
Charlotte to be put hard a-starboard ; and so little room had the 
British three-decker to spare in luf&ng' up, that her jib-boom 
grazed the larboard mizen shrouds of the Jacobin. 




Directing her larboard guns at the starboard quarter of the 
Montagne, the Queen Charlotte discharged her opposite ones 
into the stem and larboard quarter of the Jacobin, now lying 
nearly becalmed under her lee. The Jacobin, as she dropped 
astern, returned this fire with such of her guns as would bear ; 
and a shot from one of them cut away the Queen Charlotte's 
foretopmast. The movements of Lord Howe*s ship, from the 
time she bore up to pass astern of the French admiral to the 
moment at which her topmast was shot away, the following 
diagram will more clearly exhibit. 








Frustrated thus in her attempt to reach the lee-bow of the 
Montagne, the Queen Charlotte could only continue to ply her 
larboard guns at the French three-decker, who, at about 10 h. 
10 m. A.M., having her stem-frame and starboard quarter 
dreadfully shattered, and sustained a loss of upwards of 100 
killed and nearly 200 wounded, set her maintopm'ast staysail, 
and without, incredulous as it may appear, bestowing a single 
shot in return for the many she had received (her ports, indeed, 
on the starboard or lee side appear to have been shut), ranged 
a head clear of the Queen Charlotte's destructive fire. 

Observing that the Jacobin had also made sail, and that 
severed other French ships were preparing to follow the example 
of their admiral and his second, Lord Howe, at 10 h. 13 m. a.m., 
threw out the signal for a general chase. Meanwhile the Queen 
Charlotte, checked in her progress, lay between the Juste, the 
Montague's second ahead, on her larboard bow, and the Jacobin, 


on her starboard quarter : the latter, however, soon disappeared 
in the smoke to leeward. 

Let US here pause a moment to reflect upon the situation of 
the Queen Charlotte, thus opposed single-handed (for neither 
the Gibraltar nor the Brunswick, her two sec6nds, were near 
enough to aid her), to one French 120, and two 80 gun ships. 
Had M. Villaret, or rather the Conyentional deputy, Jean-Bon 
Saint-Andr^, who to all intents and purposes was the com- 
manding officer of the French fleet, possessed firmness enou^, 
at the moment the Queen Charlotte's foretopmast came down, 
to haye bore up with the Montague athwart the hawse of the 
British three-decker, the latter, without some extraordinary in- 
terposition in her favour, must either have sunk or surrendered. 

Prevented by the hasty flight of the French admiral and his 
second astern, and the loss of her foretopmast at so critical a 
moment, from taking up with the antagonist of her choice, the 
Queen Charlotte could only continue, as she did, to pour her 
heavy broadsides into the Juste, still, with herself, making slow 
way to the westward, or towards the van of tJbie two lines. In 
a very few minutes the Juste, who was distantly engaged on the 
opposite or windward side with the Invincible, lost first her fore- 
mast, and then her main and mizen masts. About the same 
time the Queen Charlotte's maintopmast came down. The loss 
of a second topmast, and the damaged state of her rigging and 
lower yards, rendered the ship wholly unmanageable ; and al- 
though, having silenced the fire of the Juste, she was desirous 
to go ahead in quest of a fresh opponent, the Queen Charlotte 
could barely keep steerage-way. 

The Juste still lay abreast of the latter ship to windward, with 
a French jack hoisted at her bowsprit-end, and a spritsaU set, 
to carry her, if possible, clear of her foes. Owing to her being 
painted similarly to the Invincible, who now lay at a short dis- 
tance ahead of her, but was concealed by the smoke, the Juste, 
seen but indistinctly from the same cause, escaped the attention 
of the Queen Charlotte, until, wearing round, she passed under 
the latter's stem, and gave her a raking broadside ; one of the 
shots from which, a 36-pounder, passed through the British 
ship's wing-transom. At the same moment a French three- 
decker, close hauled, was seen on the Queen Charlotte's weather 
quarter, approaching under all sail, and evidently intending to 
weather the whole British line before she ran to leeward. Just, 
however, as the three-decker, which was the B^publicain from 
the rear division, had advanced to a position from which her 


gmm could bear on the Queen Charlotte, and just as the latter 
was expecting to receive, and preparing to return her fire, the 
main and mizen mast of the former, at whom the Gibraltar was 
then distantly firing from to windward, went by the board. The 
•B^publicain instantly bore up, and passed within gun-shot astern 
of the Charlotte ; but such was the state of confusion on board, 
that the French three-decker let slip the favourable opportunity, 
and ran by without firing. 

After having, as already stated, ranged ahead of the Queen 
Charlotte, the Montague, setting her topgaUantsails, continued 
to stand on, followed by the Jacobin, until nearly abreast of 
her own van ; when, being joined by such of her friends as had 
no leeward opponents to keep them in check, she wore round 
on the starboard tack, and with eleven sail in her train, stood in 
the direction of the Queen, then lying about a point upon her 
starboard or weather bow in a crippled condition. 

The perilous situation of the Queen attracted Lord Howe's 
attention ; and having by signal ordered the ships of the fleet 
to close and form in line ahead or astern of her, the Queen 
Charlotte slowly and with diflSculty wore round on the stai> 
board tack. All the sail that could be set was presently spread, 
and, followed by the Barfleur, Thunderer (as fresh as when the 
action began), Boyal Sovereign, Yaliant, Leviathan, and a few 
others, the Queen Charlotte stood away, with the wind a little 
abaft the beam, to protect the disabled and gallant) ship, that, 
on the present as on the former occasion, had performed so ad- 
mirably. Seeing this, the French admiral relinquished his 
design on the Queen, merely cannonading her with a part of 
his line, as he stretched on to the support of five crippled 
French ships towing towards him in the east ; two of which in 
particular, being wholly dismasted, ought previously to have 
been secured by those British ships, of which there were several 
that had taken but little part in the action. 

The battle of the 1st of June may thus be summarily de- 
scribed. Between a quarter and half-past 9 a.m. the French 
van opened its fire upon the British van. In about a quarter of 
an hour the fire of the French became general, and Lord Howe 
and his divisional flag-officers, bearing the signal for close action 
at their mast-heads, commenced a heavy fire in return. A few 
of the British ships cut through the French line, and engaged 
their opponents to leeward ; the remainder hauled lip to wind- 
ward, and opened their fire, some at a long, others at a shorter 
and more eflectual distance. At 10 h. 10 m. a.m., when the 




action was at its height, the French admiral, in the Montagne, 
made sail ahead, followed by his second astern, and afterwards 
by snch others of his ships as, like the Montagne, had suffered 
little in their rigging and sails. At about 11 h. 30 m. a.m. the 
heat of the action was over, and the British were left with 11, 
the French with 12, more or less dismasted ships. None of the 
French ships had at this time struck their colours ; or, if they 
had struck, had since rehoisted them : they, for the most part, 
were striving to escape, under a spritsail, or some small sail set 
on the tallest stump left to them, and continued to fire at every 
British ship that passed within gun-shot.^ 

After failing, as already stated, in his attempt upon the Queen, 
Admiral Villaret stood on, and succeeded, contrary to all ex- 
pectation, in covering and cutting off four of his dismasted 
ships, the Republicain, Mucins, ^cipion, and Jemmappes : a 
fifth, the Terrible, having previously joined him, by fighting her 
way through the British fleet. At about 1 h. 15 m. p.m. the 
general firing ceased ; but it was not until 2 h. 30 m. p.m. that 
the six dismasted French ships nearest at hand, the Sans-Pareil, 
Juste, America, Imp^tueux, Northumberland, and Achille, were 
secured : and some of these reopened their fire upon the ships 
that advanced to take possession of them. At a little after 6 
P.M. a seventh French ship, the Vengeur, was taken possession 
of, but in so shattered a state, that in ten minutes afterwards 
she went down, with upwards of 200 of her crew on board, 
composed chiefly of the wounded. 

Thus ended this memorable engagement ; in which, and in 
the skirmishes of the 28th and 29th days of May, the British 
sustained a loss in gross, the details of which will appear pre- 

1 The following is a list of those dismasted ships, according to the best information 
now to be obtained : — 


Impregnable . 
Royal Sovereign 
Orion . . . 

Glory . . . 

Queen Charlotte 
Bellerophon . 

Brunswick . . 
Royal George . 

Queen . . . 

Defence . , 
Marlborough . 

> Topgallautmasts. 


Fore ditto, and top- 

Fore and main top- 

Mizenmast and fore- 

Foremast and all 
three topmasts. 

Mainmast, and mi- 
7 All three lower 
5 masts. 




Tyrannicide . 

Terrible . . 

Republicain . 

Scipion . . . 

Mucius . . . 

Jemmappes . 

Achille . . . 

America . . 

Juste . . . 

Sans-Pareil , 

( Topgallantmasts, 

\ one or more. 

C Ditto, and probably 

\ a topmast. 

i Main and mizen 

) masts. 

All three 


D^tto nnd bowsprit. 

The six last-named French ships became eventually prizes to the British. 




sently, of 290 killed and 868 wounded ; including among the 
killed, Captain Montagu, and among the wounded, Admiral 
Bowyer, and Bear-admiral Pasley, Captain Hutt, with the loss 
of a leg, and Captain John Haryey (mortally), of an arm. The 
total loss on the British side, 114:8,^ is less, however, than the 
loss in killed and wounded represented to have been sustained 
by the six French ships only which were carried into port.^ 

For the total loss sustained by the French, in this to them 
most disastrous engagement, we must trust to conjecture, unless 
we take the round number which they themselves have pub- 
lished. That number is 3000 for the killed and mortally 
wounded alone ;3 a full half of which loss fell to the share of 
the seven captured ships. Hence, reckoning the slightly 
wounded on board the 19 returned ships at 500, we may esti- 
mate the total loss of the French, in. killed, wounded, and pri- 
soners, at 7000 men. 

As, when the action commenced, the French fleet was, within 
one ship, numerically equal to the British fleet opposed to it, we 
shall, without again entering into the particulars of the force on 
each side, consider the two fleets to have been fairly matched. 

Having, to the best of our ability, presented a general view of 
the collective operations of the two fleets in this celebrated 
battle, we will now endeavour to give a description of the in- 
dividual part performed by each British ship engaged in it. 
Difficult as the task may be, it is yet due to the officers and 
men, who shared with the gallant chief the fatigue and perils of 
the day, that the attempt should be made. Our attention will 
be directed to the ships, according to the order in which they 
successively ranked in the line. 

1 See Appendix, No. 12. 

* The following statement wiU show the size in tons, complement, and loss of each of 
the six captured French ships : — 



Actual Com- 

Alleged Loss. 



Sans-Pareil ..,,.. 




















Northumberland .... 










The guns of the prizes were all new, of Swedish manufacture, and chiefly of brass. 
The Portuguese government made an offer for them; but the British government, in this 
instance, became the purchaser at 24,0002. ; and many of these beautiful and highly- 
finished guns now ornament the forts in and aroimd Portsmouth. 

* Victoirefl et Conqudtes, tome iii., p. 28. 


The Caesar, as the van or leading ship, claims our first atten- 
tion. In bearing down to engage, the Caesar appears to have 
dropped a little astern, and, as proved by Captain Molloy's own 
witnesses at the conrt-martial subsequently held upon him, to 
have brought to at a greater distance to windward, namely, 
upwards of 500 yards, than was consistent with the support she 
owed to her own fleet, and the impression which so formidable a 
two-decker was calculated to make upon the fleet of the enemy. 
It may naturally be asked, Why bring to to windward, when his 
admiral had signalled that he should pass through the enemy's 
line and engage to leeward ? The fact is, the signal was not 
compulsory on any captain. It contained a qualifyinsc N. B. 
in the following words: "The difierent captains and com- 
manders, not being able to effect the specified intention in either 
case (the signal applying to the passage through a line to wind- 
ward or to leeward), are at liberty to act as circumstances re- 
quire:" a negativing, or, at least, neutralizing nota-bene, which, 
very properly, was omitted in the next new code of signals. 

Captain Molloy's preference of the windward to the leeward 
mode of attack seems to have rested on a belief that had he ran 
down under the stern of the enemy's van-ship, the CsBsar's 
proper opponent, his own ship would have had puch fresh way 
that, in hauling up to get alongside, she would have shot far 
ahead, and thereby have done less execution than if the CsBsar 
had taken a position on the Trajan's weather quarter.^ 

Undoubtedly, the farther distant a ship is from an enemy's 
line, provided she is within shot of it, the more she exposes her- 
self to damage, simply because two or more ships can then fire at 
her : whereas, by closing with one ship, that ship alone becomes 
her opponent, and no other, while the two lines remain parallel, 
can bring her broadside to bear. Unfortunately practical proof 
of this was wanted, and the state of the Caesar's hull, masts, 
yards, and rigging soon afforded it. Anxious to retrieve his 
error, and act in obedience to the signal which had long been 
flying on board the Bellerophon, his flag-ofiScer's ship. Captain 
Molloy now attempted to wear and make sail ; but, a shot 
having driven a splinter and three parts of the fore-tackle fall 
into the starboard quarter-block of the tiller-rope, the latter had 
become jammed in the sheave, and the rudder would not move.^ 
During half an hour the accident remained unremedied, and 
nearly the whole of the time xmdiscovered. It appears, also, 

■ Minutes of the Ck>iirt-martial on Cap- Ibid., pp. 175, 193. 

tain Molloy, published in 1796, p. 142. . 


that the use of the relieving-tackles or of the mdder-pendants, 
as sabstltiites for the tiller, did not occur. All this while the 
ship was dropping farther astern ; and, when she did bear up to 
re-engage, her powerful battery, equal in weight of metal to a 
98-gun ship's, came too late into play to be of any decided effect. 
In the mean time the French van-ship, the Trajan, with no 
other visible injury than a few shot-holes in her sails, and no other 
loss, as subsequently proved, than three men killed and about 
half a dozen woimded, had set her jib and wore out of the line. 

The Csesar had no spars shot away; but the mizenmast, 
mizenyard, cross-jack yard, and mizentopsail yard were much 
out ; and so were many of the shrouds, backstays, &c. She 
received 64 shot in the starboard side of her hull, and had seven 
guns disabled by shot, exclusive of one which burst. The 
disabled guns were, one 32-pounder, one 24-pounder, and five 
12-pounders. The bursted gun was a 24-pounder; which, in 
exploding, killed two, and wounded three of her men. The loss 
which the CaBsar sustained by the enemy's fire appears to have 
been, 14 seamen killed, and about 52 or 53 wounded. 

The next ship in the British line to the CsBsar was the Belle- 
rophon, bearing the flag of Eear-admiral Pasley. This ship, 
with the signal for close action at her mast-head, bore down to 
within musket-shot of the weather quarter of the Eole, the 
second ship in the French line ; and, at about 8 h. 45 m. a.m., 
opened her broadside with good efiect. In her approach, the 
Bellerophon had received a very heavy and destructive fire from 
the three headmost French ships ; and the van-ship, the Trajan, 
being, from the Caesar's forbearing conduct, without an oppo- 
nent, still continued to fire at her occasionally. At 10 h. 50 m. a.m., 
Bear-admiral Pasley lost his leg, and was carried off the deck. 

The Bellerophon, now under the command of Captain Wil- 
liam Hope, continued warmly engaged, until 11 h. 45 m. p.m. ; 
when the Eole, having seemingly had enough of the action, 
wore round astern of her leader, then with topgallantsails set 
standing on upon the starboard tack. The two French ships, in 
passing, opened their starboard broadsides upon the Bellero- 
phon ; who, in the act of wearing after the Eole, lost her main- 
topmast, and shortly afterwards, ,her foretopmast. Having 
suffered greatly from her two opponents, the Bellerophon, at a 
little before noon, made the signal for the Latona to come to 
her assistance. 

Captain Thomborough was not slow in obeying the summons ; 
and the Latona, as she passed near the two French 748, an- 


swered their fire with as smart a return as a frigate's battery 
could give. The Bellerophon, with her fore and main topmasts 
gone, and her mainmast dangerously wounded, and all her boats 
and spars upon the booms, as well as the greater part of her 
standing and running rigging cut to pieces, was unable to haul 
to the wind after the two fugitives ; and the latter, being subse- 
quently joined by a third ship, kept firing at every British vessel 
near to which they passed. The Bellerophon's loss amounted to 
only three seamen and one marine or soldier killed, the rear- 
admiral, captain of marines (Walter Smith), boatswain (Mr. 
Chapman), and 24 seamen and marines or soldiers wounded. 

About the same time that the Bellerophon commenced action, 
the Leviathan opened her fire upon the America, bearing a com- 
modore's broad pendant. A close and furious engagement en- 
sued, and in about an hour the foremast of the America was shot 
away. At llh. 60 m. a.m. the Trajan and Eole, as they passed 
to leeward of the America and Leviathan, hove to on the latter's 
starboard quarter, and opened a very heavy and annoying fire. 
In a little while, however,' they filled and stood to windward. 
The Leviathan and her opponent, in the mean time, had wore 
round together, so that the latter was now the weathermost 
ship. After a farther interchange of broadsides, the America, 
finding that several British ships, some of which had already 
fired at her, were fast approaching, made an attempt to haul 
oflf ; but such was the shattered state of her main and mizen masts 
from the Leviathan's shot, that they both fell, the latter by the 
board, leaving this gallant and well-defended ship a mere log on 
the water. 

The America lost more than a third of her crew in killed and 
wounded. Two 'guns were dismounted, and one burst during 
the action, and killed seven men. One of the two French ships 
that fired at the Leviathan and America in passing struck the 
latter on the starboard quarter with a red-hot shot. Having 
completely disabled and silenced her opponent, the Leviathan 
left her with colours still hoisted upon one of her stumps, and 
made all sail to close with Lord Howe, in obedience to the signal 
then flying. The skill of the America's crew was not equal to 
their bravery ; for the Leviathan had only one spar, her fore- 
topsail yard, shot away. Her masts, however, were injured; 
her rigging and sails a good deal cut ; and she lost 10 seamen 
killed, and one midshipman (Mr. Glen, mortally), 31 seamen, 
and one marine or soldier wounded. 

The Bussel hove to to windward of, and commenced can- 


nonading her proper opponent, the Temeraire, about the same 
time that the Leviathan opened her fire. At 1 a.m., or there- 
abouts, the EusseFs foretopmast came down; and at 11a.m., 
the Temeraire, observing the ships of her van in the act of 
wearing, made sail to leeward, and was followed through the 
line by the Kussel. The French ship, not being greatly damaged 
in her masts or rigging, was able to haul up a little to starboard ; 
while the Eussel, having her foretopmast hanging [through the 
top, could not trim her sails in any other direction, and therefore 
brou^t to on the larboard tack, the same on which she had 
commenced the action. 

The Eussel now found herself to leeward of the three French 
van-ships. Of these, the America was fully employed with the 
Leviathan, and was also without any masts ; but the Trajan and 
Eole, having no particular opponents, and being in a perfect 
state aloft, poured each her broadside into the Kussel, and then 
hauled to the wind and got clear. After she had returned this 
salute, the Eussel passed on to the assistance of the Leviathan, 
and fii'ed two raking broadsides into the America ; the fate of 
which ship, however, as far as effective opposition went, had 
already been decided by her first opponent. The Eussel then 
accompanied the Leviathan to the new line forming astern of the 
admiral, and at about 2 h. 30 m. p.m., in compliance with the 
signal to stay by prizes, stood for and again fell in with the 
America ; who then prudently haided down her colours, and 
was quietly taken possession of by the Eussel. The damages 
of the Eussel, beyond what have been detailed, were not ma- 
terial ; and her loss amounted to eight seamen and marines or 
soldiers killed and 26 wounded. 

The Eoyal Sovereign became opposed to the Terrible, a three- 
decked ship like herself, and bearing the flag of Eear-admiral 
Bouvet. At 9 h. 23 m. a.m., after having been struck by several 
shots firom the French van-ships, the Eoyal Sovereign commenced 
firing at the Terrible, whose.battery promptly opened in return. 
The distance, however, at which the Eoyal Sovereign had brought 
to to engage was considered too great, and her signal to engage 
closer was made, and kept flying some time. At a few minutes 
before 10 a.m.. Admiral Graves was badly wounded, and carried 
off the deck: the command, in consequence, devolved upon 
Captain Henry Nichols. At 10 h. 38 m. a.m,, the Terrible had 
her main and mizen masts shot away, and immediately bore up ; 
in doing which she yawed so much that the Eoyal Sovereign 
raked her repeatedly. See^'ng the enemy's van sliipB preparing 


to ran, the Eoyal Sovereign now hoisted the signal for a general 
chase, and set courses, spritsail, jib, and staysails, in pursuit of 
the Terrible ; whereupon the Montague and Jacobin, both ap- 
parently fresh and unhurt, came to the assistance of the latter. 

At 11 h. 45 m. A.M., after having fired her larboard guns at 
one of the French yan-ships while passing on the starboard tack, 
the Koyal Sovereign commenced a close action with the Mon- 
tague, and was soon afterwards joined, but too far to windward 
to be of much effect, by the Valiant. In about half an hour the 
Montague bore away, and was followed a short distance by the 
Royal Sovereign ; who then hauled up, as well as the disabled 
state of her rigging and sails would permit. In obedience to the 
signal then flying, to stay by prizes, the Royal Sovereign, at 
2 h. 40 m. p .M., not knowing that the America was in possession 
of the Russel, fired several shot at the prize, and, on taking pos^ 
session of her, sent the Russel's people back to their ship.' The 
Eoyal Sovereign had her three topgallantmasts shot away, and 
lost one midshipman (William Ivey), 10 seamen, and three 
marines or soldiers killed. Admiral Graves, one captain and one 
lieutenant of foot, and 41 seamen and marines or soldiers 

At 9 h. 45 m. a.m., the Marlborough began firing at her 
proper opponent, the Imp^tueux, and, in five minutes affcer^ 
wards, passed under the latter*s stem, and ranged up alongside 
of her to leeward. In about a quarter of an hour the Imp^tueux 
fell on board the Marlborough, entangling herself in that ship's 
mizen shrouds, and a most destructive cannonade ensued. At 
10 h. 15 m. A.M., the next ship in line astern of the Impdtueux, 
the Mucins, to get clear of the Defence, who was pressing her 
hard, made sail ahead, and fell on board upon the bow of the 
Marlborough ; the three ships thus forming a triangle, of which 
the Marlborough was the base. 

Just as the Mucins got up, the Marlborough's mizenmast fell 
over the side, and, in a quarter of ^ hour afterwards, her fore 
and main masts followed. Still the Marlborough continned a 
very animated fire, and very soon shot away all the lower masts, 
as well as bowsprit, of the Impetueux : the masts of the Mucins 
met the same fate. Both ships are stated to have struck to the 
Marlborough ; but, when masts fall, the dropping of the colours 
is not always to be taken as a sign of surrender. About this 
time the Montague, in running by the Marlborough's stem, 
opened a fire that caused serious destruction on board of her. 
One shot entered the starboard quarter, and strack one of the 


guns exactly opposite the wheel, womnding three men stationed 
at it : it then wounded Captain Berkeley, a young midshipman, 
and several men. The Montague, as indeed did all the other 
French ships, fired an immense quantity of langridge. 

The command now devolved upon Lieutenant John Monkton, 
who evinced the utmost skill and bravery in defending the ship. 
At length the Marlborough made a signal for assistance, and 
was taken in tow by the Aquilon. Meanwhile the Mucins, being 
without an opponent, effected her escape ; as would have done, 
also, the Impetuoux, but that she was in too crippled a state to 
make sail. The latter was afterwards taken possession of by the 
Kussel, whose people, as already stated, had quitted the America 
by the orders of Admiral Graves. The Impetueux was found to 
have sustained a loss of about 100 killed, and 75 badly wounded. 
The Marlborough's loss, as might be expected, was extremely 
severe : shq had one midshipman (Abraham Nelson), 23 seamen, 
and five marines or soldiers killed, her captain, second and fifth 
lieutenants (Alexander Rudduch and Michael Seymour^ the 
latter with the loss of his left arm), one masters mate (Mr. 
Pardee), four midshipmen (Messrs. Fitzgerald, Shortland, Lin- 
thome, and Clarges), 68 seamen, and 14 marines or soldiers 

The Defence, in bearing down, being rather in advance of her 
own line, had the good fortune to be the first in cutting through 
that of the enemy : she passed between the Mucins and Tour- 
viUe, and, owing to some of the French ships astern not being 
properly attacked, was presently in the thickest of the fire. 
Her exposed situation soon caused the loss of her main and 
mizen masts. The Mucins, after a while, quitted the Defence, 
and stretched on to windward of the Marlborough ; and the 
Tourville, also, taking advantage of the crippled state of her 
opponent, hauled up and made sail from her. The near approach 
of other French ships, and, among them, of the E^publicain 
three-decker, with only her foremast standing, compelled the 
Defence, after the additional loss of her foremast, by engaging 
them, to make a signal for assistance. The Bepublicain soon 
afterwards set her foresail and ran to leeward ; and at about 
1 P.M. the Phaeton, by directions from the admiral, took the 
Defence in tow. The latter lost her master (William Webster), 
boatswain (John Fitzpatrick), 11 seamen, and four marines or 
soldiers killed, one master's mate (J. Elliot), one ensign of foot, 
25 seamen, and nine marines or soldiers wounded. 
On her way from her station in the rear, to speak the admiral 


as she had been ordered, i;he Phaeton passed, at about noon, 
four French 74s, standing on the starboard tack. These were, 
probably, the Trajan, Eole, Temeraire, and Tourville ; but one 
of them must have subsequently separated and bore up, as three 
ships only were seen to windward in the afternoon. The Phaeton 
then ran under the stem of a fifth 74, the Impetueux, but, as 
the French ship was dismasted, did not fire at her. As soon, 
however, as the Phaeton came within range of the larboard guns 
of the Impdtueux, the latter, contrary to the usual practice, 
which is that frigates, as they pass to and fro in a fleet without 
engaging, are not to be molested, opened a fire upon her. The 
irigate promptly returned the ungracious salute, and continued 
engaging the French 74 for ten minutes ; during which the 
Phaeton sustained a; loss of three men killed and five wounded. 
Captain Bentinck then made sail, and at 30 m. p.m. spoke Lord 
Howe, who ordered him to give aid to the Defence ; which the 
Phaeton accordingly did. 

The next ships of the British line, the Impregnable, Tre- 
mendous, Barfleur, Invincible, Culloden, and Gibraltar, having, 
with one exception, kept rather too much to windward to give 
full effect to their batteries, offer nothing in their proceedings of 
equal importance to the accounts we have been detailing. 

The ship particularly excepted from the six above named, is 
the Invincible, who had conducted herself so honourably on the 
29th of May. This ship, at 9 h. 45 m. p. m., began engaging 
the Juste, a ship far superior to her in force, and the proper 
opponent of the Gibraltar. In a short time the animated fire 
kept up by the Invincible so annoyed the Juste, that the latter 
bore up, and, there encountering the heavy broadsides of the 
Queen Charlotte, struck her colours. 

The loss sustained by each of the above six ships was as fol- 
lows : Impregnable, her master (David Caird) and six seamen 
killed, and her eighth lieutenant (William Buller), boatswain (Mr. 
Patterlo), and 22 seamen wounded ; Tremendous, her first lieu- 
tenant (Francis Boss), one seaman, and one marine killed, and six 
seamen and two marines or soldiers wounded ; Barfleur, eight sear 
men and one marine killed, and Rear-admiral Bowyer, her sixth 
lieutenant (William Prowse), two midshipmen (Messrs. Fogo 
and Clemens), 18 seamen, and three marines or soldiers wounded ; 
Invincible, four seamen and marines or soldiers killed, and ten 
wounded : CuUoden, two seamen killed, and her third lieutenant 
(Tristram Whitter), and four seamen wounded ; and the Gibral- 
tar, one seaman and one marine killed, and 12 seamen wounded. 


No one of these six ships appears to have had any spar shot 
away, except the Impregnable, who lost her three topgallant* 
masts, and had her fore-topsail yard shot away in the slings ; 
but, owing to the promptitude and dexterity of two of her 
officers, Lieutenant Robert Waller Otway, and Midshipman 
Charles Dashwood, in going aloft and lashing the yard to the 
€ap, the Impregnable was enabled to wear on the starboard 
tack, when, at 40 m. p. m., the signal to that effect was madd 
by the Queen Charlotte. 

Both the Barfleur and Invincible, the latter especially, had 
their masts wounded, and their sails and rigging much cut. So 
little, however, did Captain Pakenham think of his ship's casual- 
ties, that, on seeing the crippled state of the Queen Charlotte^ 
he sent lieutenant Henry Blackwood to Lord Howe, expressly 
to say, that the Invincible was sufficiently manageable to bear 
his lordship's flag. The admiral did not, however, think it 
necessary to shift his flag, but immediately sent the lieutenant 
and his boat*s crew to take possession of the Juste. 

Having already detailed the proceedings of the Queen Char- 
lotte and her opponent flag^ship, the Montague, we have merely 
to describe the damage and loss which each sustained in the 
action. In addition to the loss of her fore and main topmasts 
and their yards, the Queen Charlotte had her fore and main 
yards and all three masts wounded in several places, and her 
standing and nmning rigging very much cut. Her loss amounted 
to her seventh lieutenant (Eoger R. Rawlence), one lieutenant 
of foot, and 11 seamen killed, and Captain Douglas (by a shot 
from the Gibraltar, it is believed), one midshipman (J. Holland^ 
badly), 22 seamen, and five marines or soldiers wounded ; the 
whole of which loss, with a very slight exception, was incurred 
in bearing down to the attack. 

According to the French accounts, the Montague, although 
comparatively unhurt, as we have stated her to have been, in 
masts, rigging, and sails, was dreadfully battered in hull ; her 
rudder was unhung by the shattered state of the stempost, two 
of the gun-room ports on the starboard side were knocked into 
one, the binnacle and wheel were destroyed ; also the second 
stem-gallery, a great portion of the starboard quarter-deck bul- 
warks, and all the boats as well on the booms as over the quar- 
ters. Several of her guns were dismounted, and more than 250 
shot are represented to have struck and entered the ship along 
her starboard water-line : near the stern, in particular, the leaks 
occasioned by the Bhot4ioles were very serious. 

VOL. I. N 


In thiB state of her materiel, the peraonnel of the Montagne 
could not bat suffer extremely. Among the 300 killed and 
wounded, already mentioned as the amount of her loss in the 
action, the Montagne, from the stem and quarter fire to which 
she was exposed, lost a great proportion of officers. The '* in? 
tendant " Busse and the fiag-captain Bazire were killed by the 
same shot. Two or three lieutenants were also killed, and seve- 
ral enseignes or midshipmen. Among the wounded, also, were 
several lieutenants and inferior officers ; and the French admiral 
himself had a narrow escape, the seat on which he stood during 
the action having been shot from under him. Jean-Bon Saint- 
Andre, likewise, might have been numbered among the sufferers, 
but that his fears, early in the action, prompted him to seek se- 
curity below : ^' Frappe du spectacle dont ses yeux sent temoins, 
Jean-Bon Saint- Andr^ ne peut surmonter la frayeur qu*il eprouve, 
et, pour eviter le danger, ilse h&te kdescendre k la premiere bair 

The Brunswick, Lord Howe's second astern, is the next ship 
to which our attention is called. The slanting manner in which 
the British fleet bore down to the attack, and the forword posi- 
tion of the Brunswick just as it commenced, exposed her to 
much of the fire directed at the Queen Charlotte. This, besides 
damaging the Brunswick's rigging, killed several of her crew, 
and filled the cockpit with wounded, before the ship fired a shot. 
It was Captain Harvey's intention, as second to his admiral, to 
cut through the line astern of the Jacobin, the second to the 
French admiral ; but, when the Jacobin ranged ahead, as al- 
ready stated, the AohiUe closed upon her, so as not to have a 
sufficient space to pass through. The Brunswick thereupon 
bore up, and pushed for an opening between the Achille and 
Vengeur; but the latter, with the view of frustrating that 
design, gallantly shot ahead and closed the interval. 

As the only adtemative, the Brunswick kept her helm aport, 
and ran foul of the Yengeur ; the Brunswick's three starboard 
anchors hooking in the Yeogeur's larboard fore-shrouds and fore- 
channels.^ The two ships immediately swung close to each 
other, and paying off before the wind, dropped out of the line. 
The British crew, unable to open the eight lowerdeck starboard 
ports from the third abaft, blew them off; and the Brunswick 
and Yengeur, with their heads pointing to the northward, and 

i ^^^^ et ConquStes, tome iil., p. 20. clear of the Vengeur, the latter is said to 
» On the master, Mr. Stewart, asking have replied. **No; we have got her, and 
Uiptain Harvey if he should cut the ship "we will keep her." 


with some considerable way upon them, both ships having 
squared their yards on coming in contact, commenced a furions 
engagement. The Vengeur*s musketry, and her 36-pounder 
poop-carronades loaded with langridge (old nails and pieces of 
iron), soon played havoc on the Brunswick's poop and quarter* 
deck, MUing a captain of foot, and several o£Scers and men, 
and wounding, among others, Captain Harvey himself, but not 
so severely as to occasion him to go below : the wound was by 
a musket-shot, which tore away three of the fingers from hiis 
right hand. 

At about 11 A.M. a ship was discovered, through the smoke, 
bearing down on the Brunswick's larboard quarter ; having her 
gangways and rigging crowded with men, as if with the inten-> 
tion of releasing the Vengeur by boarding the Brunswick. In- 
stantly the men stationed at the five aftermost lowerdeck guns, 
on the starboard side, were turned over to those on the larboard 
side, and to each of the latter guns, already loaded with a single 
32-pounder, was added a double-headed shot. Presently the 
Aohille, for that was the ship, advanced to within musket-shot ; 
when five or six rounds from the Brunswick's five after guns on 
each deck brought down, by the board, the former's only re- 
maining mast, the foremast.^ The wreck of this mast, falling, 
where the wreck of the main and mizen masts already lay, on 
the starboard side, prevented the Achille from making the 
slightest resistance ; and, after a few unretumed broadsides 
from the Brunswick, the French ship struck her colours. It 
was, however, wholly out of the Brunswick's power to take 
possession, and the Achille very soon rehoisted her colours, and, 
setting her spritsail, endeavoured to escape. 

In about half an hour after the dismasting of the Achille, and 
when the latter, by the aid of her spritsail, had got to some dis- 
tance from the Brunswick and Yengeur, another ship was seen 
bearing down, in the direction in which the Achille had ap- 

1 It is stated in other works, and is still gone.^ That this must have been the 

contended by one of the Brunswick's sur- Achille is clear, because all the other dis- 

viving ofBcers (although the master's log, masted ships in the French line, except 

minute as it is in other refpects, notices the Northumberland, and she lost all three 

no other ship, English or French, than masts together, lay at or near to the two 

the Vengenr), that the Achille had all extremiiies. Moreover, was not a broad- 

tbree of her masts shot away by the side from the Queen Cbariotte sufBcient, 

Brunswick's partial fire. In opposition to even without the additional fire of the 

this, the log of the Valiant, the ship next Valiant, to bring dows tho masts of a 

in line to the Brunswick, states, that at a French 74 ? The end-on position, in which 

few minutes past 10 a.m. her opponent the Achille approached the Brunswick, In 

lost her main and mizen masts ; and the all probability le4 to what, from the most 

log of the BamUlles says: "lO h. 45 m. attentive review of the sutjlect, we mu«t 

saw one of the enemy's diips opposed to still consider tabe a mistake, 
our centre with her main and misea masts 


proached, and which ship, fortunately for the Bmnewick, proved 
to be the Bamillies. Meanwhile the two fast-locked combatants 
continued in hot action ; on the part of the Brunswick, the fire 
from her quarter*deck, forecastle, and poop, was but feebly 
maintained. From the destructive effects of the Vengeur's 
musketry, it became difficult to stand to the guns there situated ; 
but the fire from the two principal decks of the Brunswick was 
maintained as vigorously as in the early part of this hard-con- 
tested action. 

On the lower deck, the seamen, profiting by the rolling of the 
Yengeur, frequently drove home the coins, and depressed the 
muzzles of the guns, each of which was loaded with two round 
shot, and then again withdrew the coins, and pointed the muzzles 
Tipwards ; thus, alternately, firing into their opponent's bottom, 
and ripping up her decks. During this deliberate and destruc- 
tive operation, Captain Harvey was knocked down by a splinter ; 
but, although seriously hurt, he was presentiiy on his legs again. 
Soon afterwards, however, the crown of a double-headed shot, 
Which had split, struck his right arm, and this gallant officer 
was compelled to go below.^ The command of the Brunswick 
now devolved upon Lieutenant William Edward Cracraft. 

At about 45 m. p.m. the tw6 ships, having remained three 
hours entangled, swung off from each other, and, tearing away 
the three anchors from the Brunswick's bows, separated. It was 
now that the Bamillies, who had arrived up a few minutes 
before, and, having lost but two seamen killed and seven 
wounded, was quite a fresh ship, commenced her attack upon 
the Vengeur. While the Bamillies was waiting for the French 
ship to settle further from the Brunswick, in order to have 
room to fire at her without injuring the latter, the Brunswick, 
by a few well-directed shot, split the Vengeur's rudder, and 
shattered her stem-post ; besides making a large hole in her 
counter, through which tibie water rushed in great quantity. At 
this spot the Bamillies, now only 40 yards distant, pointed her 
guns, and, assisted occasionally by her consort, reduced the 
gallant but at this time overpowered Vengeur, in a very few 
minutes, to a sinking state ; when suddenly, as if perceiving 
the AchiUe making off in the distance, the Bamillies filled and 
made fiJl sail from the two exhausted combatants, between 
whom, soon after 1 p.m., all firing ceased. 

1 On this occasion, Captain Harrey is with q>irit,for the honour of our kiognnd 

reported to have addressed his crew in the countiy ; snd remember my last words,— 

lol lowing words: 'Perseirere, my brave Wu cMoun o/th/t JBnauunck thaU never 

tads, iu your duty. Continue the action Ite ttrwdej' 


It was about the same time that the Yengetur, who daw Iker 
fate approaching, displayed a union jack over the quarter, as a 
token of submission and of a desire to be relieyed. But the 
Brunswick, haying had all her boats destroyed, oould afford her 
enemy no protection. At about 1 h. 30 m. p.m. the Brunswick 
lost her mizenmast, and, in consequence, became still less al^ 
to bestow any assistance upon the Yengeur, who had by this 
lime removed the jack from her quarter to the larboard arm of 
her cross-jack yard. 

The loss of the mizenmast, the wounded state of the other 
masts, and the damage done to the rigging, rendering it impos- 
sible to haul up for the British fleet, to leeward of which M. 
Yillaret was now leading a fresh line on the starboard tack, to 
recover as many as he could of his dismasted ships, the Brunsr 
wick put her head to the northward, with the intention to make 
the best of her way into port, should the French fleet, as, fortu- 
nately for her, proved to be the case, forbear from molesting her. 

All possible sail was therefore made upon the ship, and the 
effective survivors of the crew began immediately to repair the 
damaged rigging, fish the masts, and secure the lowerdeck ports, 
through which the water was rushing at every roll. About 
3 P.M. the Brunswick fell in with the Jemmappes, wholly dis* 
masted, and only under the influence of her spritsail. Ffem 
this ship the Brunswick had received some annoying shot whil^ 
engaged with the Yengeur. As the Brunswiok lufied up UDder 
her lee within hail, the Jemniappes displayed a union jack over 
her quarter, and signified that she had struck to the English 
admiral, at the same time pointing to the Queen, then at a oonr 
siderable distance in the south. 

The extent of the damages sustained by the Brunswick will 
appear by the following detail of them. The mizeninast, as we 
have seen, was gone ; the bowsprit was cut two-thirds through 
near the gammom'ng, the mainmast badly wounded, and the fore^ 
mast also, which latter had received one very deep sliot three 
feet below the trussel-trees. All the running and most of the 
standing rising were shot away, all the yards in a shattered 
state, and all the sails shot to pieces. No fewer than 23 guns 
lay dismounted. The ship had been on fire three times from 
the Yengeur's wads ; and her yards, rigging, and sails were all 
much injured by shot. Her starboard quarter-gall6ry had been 
entirely carried away, and her best bower-anchor, with the 
starboard cat-head, was towing u)Qder her bottom. 
' The loss on board the Brunswick was proportioijiably severe ; 


consisting of one captain of foot (Alexander Saunders), one 
master's mate (Thomas Dalton), one midshipman (James Lucas), 
30 seamen, and 11 marines or soldiers killed, and her captain 
(mortally^), second lieutenant (Eowland Bevan), one midship- 
man (Mr. Hurdis), one ensign of foot, 91 seamen, and 19 
marines or soldiers wounded. 

The Achille, at about 4 h. 15 m. p.m. with colours rehoisted 
on one of her stumps, and a small sail or two set, was overtaken 
by the Eamillies and unopposedly secured ; haying sustained a 
loss in her different encounters, as alleged by her officers, of 36 
killed and 30 badly wounded. As to the Vengeur, shortly after 
the Brunswick had quitted her, she lost her wounded fore and 
main masts, the latter, in its fall, carrying away the head of the 
mizenmast. Thus reduced to a complete wreck, the Vengeur 
rolled with her ports in the water, and, as the lids of most of 
those on the larboard side had been torn off or shot away in her 
board-and-board conflict, the Yengeur began filling faster than 
ever. Notwithstanding that the ship was literally sinking, the 
A^engeur, it is said, rehoisted her colours, and set a small sail on 
the stump of her foremast. 

In this state, at about 6 h. '15 m. p.m., fortunately for her 
brave officers and crew, the ship was approached by the Alfred, 
OuUoden, and Battler cutter; who immediately lowered as 
many of their boats as would swim, and sent them to save the 
people. The boats of the Alfred took off 213, and those of the 
Culloden and the cutter (the zeal and activity of whose com- 
mander, Lieutenant John Winne, did him great credit) nearly 
as many more. Consequently, when the ship went down a few 
minutes after the last boat had pushed off from her, very few 
besides the badly wounded could have perished in her. 

Among the 30 or 40 unhurt by wounds, doubtless there were 
several who, as British sailors frequently do in similar cases of 
despair, had flown to the spirit-room for relief. Thus inspired, 
it is not extraordinary that, when the ship was going down, 
some of them should exclaim, " Vive la nation !" " Vive la r^ 
pubUque I" or that one, more furiously patriotic than the rest of 
his drunken companions, should, at this painful moment to the 
spectators, (and something of the kind we believe did happen), 
wave to and fro the tri-coloured flag, tmder which he had so 
nobly fought. 


1 It was found neoeanry to ampntata owing, it is thought, to his splinter-wonod, 
the arm above the elbow on the evening did not sorvive beyond the 30th of June. 
after the actioas bat Oiptain Horv^. 


Among the Btirvivors of the Vengeur's crew, were Captain 
Benandin and his son, a boy of twelve years of age. These 
were accidentally taken off by different ships' boats ; and each, 
until they met again at Portsmouth, imagined the other had 
perished. Affecting indeed must have been the interview to all 
who witnessed it ; to the father and son rapturous in the ex- 
treme. Captain Eenaudin was afterwards exchanged, and 
proved, as we shall by-and-by have occasion to show, as 
humane as he had already shown himself a gallant man. 

The Valiant, the next ship claiming our attention, hove to, at 
9 h. 30 m. A.M., to windward of her proper opponent (reckoning 
from the rear) the Patriote, and, as she well might, from the 
latter^s sickly state, soon drove her to leeward. The Valiant 
then passed through the line ahead of the Patriote, and engaged 
the Achille soon after the Queen Charlotte had quitted her. 
At 10 h. 5 m. A.M. the Achille's main and mizen masts, disabled, 
no doubt, by the three-decker's previous fire, fell over the side ; 
and the Valiant then stretched ahead, until she brought to to 
windward of the Boyal Sovereign, as has already been related. 
The Valiant's loss of spars was confined to her maintopsail and 
cross-jack yards, and her loss of men to one seaman and one 
soldier or marine killed, and five seamen and four soldiers or 
marines wounded. 

The Orion bore down upon and engaged the Northumberland, 
and fired a few shot, as they would bear, on the Patriote ahead 
of her. At about 10 h. 30 m. a.m. the two French ships bore up, 
and the masts of the Northumberland, which, previously to her 
attack by the Orion, had received several destructive shot from 
the foremost guns of the Queen, fell over the side ; as, a few 
minutes before, had the main topmast of the Orion, carrying 
with it the main-top and main-yard. The Orion then hauled up, 
as well as she could, in support of the Queen Charlotte ; and 
the Northumberland set her spritsail, and endeavoured to get 
off to leeward : the latter, however, was subsequently secured, 
and found to have sustamed a loss in killed and wounded of 180, 
Including a large proportion of ofiScers. The Orion received no 
other damage of any consequence than what has been related ; 
and her loss extended to only two seamen killed, and 20 seamen 
and four soldiers or marines wounded. 

The Queen, in bearing down to engage, having suffered con- 
siderably in her sails and rigging, was unable to get abreast of 
her proper opponent, the Northumberland ; who, with her fore 
and main tacks down, was running £Eust ahead. She therefore 


closed with the seventh French sh^ from the rear, the Jem- 
mappes.^ This ship also made sail ahead, and then ran to lee- 
ward ; but the Queen kept close upon her starboard quarter, and 
annoyed her much, llie Jemmappes, having had her colours 
twice shot away, rehoisted them at the mizen topgallant-mast 
head ; but at 10 h. 45 m. a.m. her mizenmast went by the board. 

At 11 A.M. the Queen's mammast went over the lee side] 
springing, in its fall, the mizenmast, and carrying away the fore- 
part of the poop, and part of the quarter-deck bulwark. In an- 
other quarter of an hour the mainmast of the Jemmappes fell, as 
did immediately afterwards, her foremast. At this time the 
Queen had fallen round ofif, and the crew of the Jemmappes, hav- 
ing been driven from their quarters with great slaughter, came 
upon deck, and waved submission with their hats; but the 
Queen was in too disabled a state to take possession. Her mizen 
topmast had been shot away since the fall of her mainmast ; 
her foremast and bowsprit had been shot through in several 
places ; and her mizenmast, from its wounds, was expected every 
instant to fall ; her rigging had also been cut to pieces, and all 
her sails rendered useless. 

After about an hour's exertions in repairing some of her prin-* 
cipal damages, the Queen managed to get her head towards her 
own fleet, and was steering along to leeward of it when at about 
30 m. P.M., she discovered, through the smoke to leeward, 12 
sail of French ships standing towards her. The leading ship, the 
Montague, passed without firing, and so did her second astern ; 
but the third ship opened her fire, as did also every one of the 
remaining eight, the last of which was the Terrible, with only 
ker foremast standing. The latter was towed into the line by 
three frigates ; two of which cast off" and hauled to windward, 
tio enga^ the Queen. The Queen, however, soon convinced 
them that her guns were not so disabled as her masts ; and the 
two frigates put up their helms and ran to leeward without re- 
turning a shot. 

The appearance of the Queen Charlotte and the newly-formed 
line astern of her had caused the Montague and her line to keep 
more away than M. Villaret had at first intended ; the Queen, 
therefore, suffered but little from the distant cannonade to which 
she was exposed. On coming abreast of the Queen's late an- 
tagonist, the Jemmappes, the French admiral detached a frigate 

^ In the first editicm, this ship, by mis- French line : other drcnmstances, also, 
take, was named the Scipioo; but we have since made it clear, that the Jem- 
have now the most positive proof, that mappes, a fine new 74 of the largest class, 
the Scipi<m wat the stenunott ship in th« was the Queen's (^p<xient. 


to tow the latter off, as weU as two other dismasted two-deckers 
lying at no great distance from her. The damages which the 
Queen had previously sustained have ahready appeared : her loss 
amounted to 14 seamen and marines or soldiers killed, her se- 
cond and an acting lieutenant (Richard Dawes and Georgei 
Aimes), one midshipman (Mr. Kinneer), and 37 seamen and 
marines or soldiers wounded. 

Of the remaining seven ships of the British line, two only re- 
quire to have any account given of their proceedings ; with re- 
spect to the rest, it will suffice to show what loss they each sus- 
tained. That of the Eamillies has already been stated. The 
Alfred had six seamen and two marines or soldiers wounded^ 
but none killed ; the Montagu, her captain, in the early part of 
the action, and three seamen killed, and two midshipmen (Hon. 
Mr. Bennett and John Moore), and 11 seamen wounded ; the 
Majestic, two seamen killed, and five wounded ; and the Thun- 
derer, no killed nor wounded : a circumstance not difficult to 
be accounted for, if the foUowing minute, which appears in the 
log-book of the Boyal Sovereign, is correct: "11 h. 40 m., ol> 
served a ship lying a considerable distance to windward, which 
we supposed to be the Thunderer ; threw out her pendant, the 
signal for chase and close action being flying." 

The proceedings of the Eoyal George and Glory are all that 
remain to be detailed. At 9 h. 38 m. a.m. the Boyal George, 
in bearing down, opened her fire chiefly upon the Sans-Pareil 
and Bepublicain, and in a short time passed through the French 
line between those ships, in hot action with both. It may here 
be remarked, that three French ships, the Entreprenant, Pel* 
letier, and Neptune, intervene between the Bepublicain, the pre- 
sent opponent of the Boyal George, and the Queen's brave an* 
jbagonist, the Jemmappes. Two of the above three ships (for 
the Neptune, during a while, was smartly engaged by the Mon- 
tagu), if they found opponents at all, sitffered little or nothing 
^m them; and, that the Bamillies and Alfred, their natural 
apponenta in the British line, escaped with about equal impunity, 
has already been shown. At all events, two of the slowest sail- 
ing ships in the British rear, if not in the British line, had the 
honour of checking the way of the three rearmost French ships, 
and, as we shall presently show, of reducing two of them at 
least to so disabled a state, that, instead of one only, as was the 
case, botibi ships ought to have been secured by the four or five 
fresh ships belonging to the British at this extremity of their line. 

From her indifferent sailing, the Glory had been a long time in 


getting down, but at length cat through the French line astern 
of the Scipion, and, engaging the latter close to leeward, soon 
brought down by the board all three of her masts ; losing, by 
the return fire of the Scipion, her foretopmast and main and 
mizen topgallantmasts. Banging ahead, the Glory found her^ 
self opposed to the Sans-Pareil, whose fore and mizen masts had 
just fallen under the heavy fire of the Eoyal George. The 
B^publicain now came in for her share of the united fire of the 
two British three-deckers ; one of which ahead, aud the other 
astern, raked her with such effect as to compel her to retreat, 
with main and mizen masts reduced to a tottering state, and 
which, as we have elsewhere related, fell soon afterwards. In 
nian«euyring to get away, however, the B^publicain obtained the 
opportunity of returning the rake to each of her antagonists. 
The Sans-Pareil and Scipion, meanwhile, completely silenced in 
their fire, had dropped astern; but, the Boyal George having 
lost her foremast and main and mizen topmasts, had her wheel 
rendered useless, and tiller-ropes shot away, and the Glory being 
also much disabled in her masts and rigging, neither French 
ships could be taken possession of by them. 

The loss sustained. by the Boyal George amounted to one 
midshipman (John Hughes) and four seamen and marines killed, 
her second lieutenant (Thomas Ireland), master (John Bam- 
borough), two midshipmen (Messieurs Boyce and Pearce), and 
45 seamen and marines wounded. The Glory had her master 
^George Metcalfe), one midshipman (David Greig), and 11 
seamen killed, and 31 seamen and eight marines or soldiers 

The alleged loss sustained by the Sans-Pareil was as many as 
260 killed, and 120 badly wounded : an overrating, probably, as 
to the killed, but it is now too late to clear up the point. On 
board the Sans-Pareil as a prisoner, was Captain Troubridge, 
late of the British frigate Castor, with a portion of her officers 
and crew. When, in the afternoon, the Majestic fell in with, 
and took possession of^ this noble two-decker. Captain Trou-^ 
bridge remained on board, and, with his men, assisted in navi* 
gating the Sans-Pareil into port. Wherever we can, with 
propriety, introduce an anecdote creditable to the officer, and 
interesting to the public, we are ready to do so ; but we should 
never have thought of inserting the vulgar and disgusting anec- 
dote, which a contemporary, in a seeming laudatory manner too, 
- has related of Captain Troubridge.^ 

1 BrentOD, vol. U, p. 308. 


The fortunate possession of a French account of the proceed* 
ings of the Scipion, on this day of dreadful carnage, enables u^ 
to give a full and interesting account of the casualties that 
befel that ship. The loss of her three masts has already been 
mentioned. Seventeen of her guns were dismounted, her fur-» 
naces knocked down, and the hot shot in them scattered about 
the deck, to the great danger of setting fire to the ship. From 
her first and second batteries alone, the Scipion is represented to 
have discharged 1440 round shot ; and her loss, by the enemy's 
fire, is stated at 64 men killed, and 151 wounded. In compar* 
ing this ship's aggregate loss with that of any of her companions 
in the action, it should be recollected, that the additional num- 
ber of killed assigned to most of the prizes, and enumerated at 
a former page, is from doubtful authority, and indeed, from the 
over proportion to the wounded, in all probability exaggerated. 
The Scipion, notwithstanding she was in this deplorable state, 
and notwithstanding there were so many comparatively un- 
touched ships yet remaining^ in the British fleet, managed to rig 
herself with jury-masts and join her admiral. 

After having, in this surprising manner, recovered four of his 
crippled ships, two of the number without a stick standing 
except the bowsprit, M. Yillaret put away to the northward, 
and by 6 h. 15 m. p.m., with the whole of his remaining 19 line- 
of-battle ships, and all the rest of his fleet, except a frigate left 
to reconnoitre, was completely out of sight of the fleet which 
had been engaged with him. The state of many of the ships 
composing that fleet, and of the prizes in its possession, was 
each, that it took until 5 a.m. on the 3rd before Lord Howe could 
make sail. His lordship then steered to the north-east, and, 
without any further occurrence worth notice, anchored at Spit^ 
head at 11 a.m. on j the 13th ; having with him his six prizes, 
and the whole of his fleet, except nine sail of the line, which he 
had ordered to Plymouth. 

Our attention is now called to Eeaivadmiral Montagu, whom, 
with six sail of the line and a frigate, we left cruising to intercept 
the French convoy from America ; and which was escorted, not 
by four sail of the line, as the rear-admiral had been led to sup- 
pose, but by two, the Tigre and Jean-Bart, as already men- 
tioned.^ The Bear-admiral's orders were to cruise until the 
20th, and then, if xmsuccessful in his object, to rejoin the com- 
mander-in-chief; but, from the prospect held out by the intel- 
' ligence he had received, the rear-admiral was induced to wait 

See p. 140. 


over the prescribed x)eriod some days, especially as the Venus 
had not rettimed to him. While llios waiting, Bear-admiral 
Montagu recaptured some vessels of the Lisbon convoy, that 
had escaped from the Channel fleet, and from them learnt that 
the Brest fleet was at sea, and, eqniJly with himself, seeking the 
expected Franco-American convoy. Having exceeded, by fonr 
or five days, the time he had been directed to cruise to the north- 
ward of Cape Ortugal, and finding, by one of the recaptured 
ships, that Lord Howe, instead of being at the appointed ren- 
dezvous off Ushant, was as far to the westward as the longitude 
of 14^, and in probable pursuit of the French fleet, Rear-admiral 
Montagu, in compliance with the spirit of his orders, made the 
best of his way into port, and, on the 30th of May, anchored in 
Plymouth Sound. 

The interception of a provision-laden convoy of upwards of 
KX) sail, in the present distressed state of France, being of the 
utmost importance to England, the British admiralty, on the 
very day, June 2nd, on which the board received the account of 
Bear-admiral Montagu's arrival in port, sent bach orders for him 
to sail immediately, taking with him the four line-of-battle ships 
supposed to be ready for sea in the port. This reinforcement 
was ordered, in anticipation of the expected Junction between 
MM. Nielly and Yanstabel, although the admiralty were still 
of opinion, correctly enough, that the- latter had sailed from 
America with only two sail of the line. With his force thus 
augmented to 10 sail of the line, including two 64s, the rear- 
admiral was to hasten to the rendezvous off Ushant ; there to 
await the arrival of intelligence from Lord Howe, and, in the 
erent of an action between the fleets, was to be ready to protect 
any disabled British, or to capture any disabled French, ships. 
If, however, any certain intelligence should in the mean time 
reach the rear-admiral of the approach of the Franco- American 
convoy, he was to make all sail in that direction, and endeavour 
to intercept it. 

On the 3rd of June, afl has already been mentioned, the Auda- 
cious arrived in Plymouth Sound, with the intelligence that the 
two fleets had had a partial engagement, and were likely to have 
a decisire one. On the 4tli, Bear-admiral Montagu, not having 
reoeired any alteration of his orders, weig^ied and put to sea with 
the following mne sail of the line and two frigates, with every 
probability that he should have diisaUed ships either to succour 
or to capture. 





( Rear-adm, (b.) Geofge Montagu. 
I Captain Lawrence William Halsted. 

XXvvWX • « 1 

Alexander . 

» M 

Richard Rodney Bligh. 

Ganges . . 

» »> 

William Truscott. 


Colossiis^ . 

* »> 

Charles Morice Pole. 


• i> 

George Wilson. 


• >» 

Robert Calder. 

Arrogant . 


Richard Lucas. 

, Minotaur^ . 


Thomas Louis. 


Kubyi . . . 


Sir liichaid Bickerton. 


Pallaa^ and Con 


On the 8th, in the morning, the rear-admiral reached his sta- 
tion, abont thirteen leagues south-west by west of Ushant. At 

3 h. 30 m. P.M., the wind a moderate breeze from north-north- 
east, 12 sail were descried and chased in the east-south-east. At 

4 P.M., eight of the strangers being discovered to be French 
line-of-battle ships, the British squadron formed the line of battle 
ahead on the larboard tack, and stood on to meet them. At 
6 P.M. the French squadron which consisted of the 110-gun 
ship Majestueux, and 74-gun ships Aquilon, Jupiter, Marat, 
Nestor, E^oubtable, B^volution, and Superbe, also two frigates 
(one a rasd), a corvette, and a cutter, under the command of 
Bear-admiral Cornice, tacked from the British squadron, and, 
with all the sail the ships could carry, stood into the bay of Ber- 
theaume. At 8 p. m., having chased the French close under the 
land and nearly into the road, where already lay, as seen by the 
advanced frigate, the Concorde, two ships apparently of the line, 
the British squadron tacked and stood off for the night under 
eajsy sail. 

On the 9th, at 7 a.m., the wind still light from the northward, 
a fleet was seen bearing west, and at 9 a.m. was discovered to 
be French, and to consist of 19 sail of the line, three frigates, 
and two smaller vessels. This, as may be conjectured, was the 
remnant of the grand fleet, standing in for the land, then about 
17 leagues distant. Immediately Rear-admiral Montagu, whose 
squadron was about three leagues nearer to the shore, formed in 
line x>f battle ahead on the starboard tack, and M. Villaret did 
the same on the opposite or larboard tack; forming in very 
compact order, with his five dismasted ships in tow : two of them 
three-deckers (Rdpublicain and Terrible), and the remainder 748, 
two only of which, the Mucins and Jemmappes, were wholly 
dismasted. It was the former's intention to keep the wind of 

1 These ships composed the rehiforcement. 


his enemy ; but, fearing that the Ganges and Alexander, who 
were astern, and sailed very ill (the latter in particular), would 
not be able to weather the French fleet, then about six miles dis- 
tant, Rear-admiral Montagu, at 9 h. 30 m. a.m., put about and 
formed his squadron in line on the larboard tack ; the van-ships 
edging away to starboard, to enable the leewardmost ones to get 
into their stations. 

Having thus, within him, m an enemy's port at no great dis- 
tance, a force folly equal, and outside of him not more than six 
or seven miles off, preparing to attack him, a force (making 
every allowance) nearly double, Eear-admiral Montagu felt it 
necessary to continue standing on to the southward. The French 
admiral now detached two ships from his rear in chase ; and 
at noon, when his van came into the wake of the British 
squadron, the whole French fleet bore up in pursuit. The 
effective ships soon gained rapidly in the chase, owing to the 
slow sailing of the Ganges and Alexander ; for these two ships, 
although carrying all the canvas they could spread, the reaiv 
admiral was obliged repeatedly to shorten sail, being deter- 
mined not to abandon them : the Bellona, indeed, as a proof of 
her superiority of sailing, during the greater part of the time, 
had her topsails on the cap, her courses hauled up, and her 
yards braced by. At 5 p.m., notwithstanding that his headmost 
ships were then within four miles of the British rear,^the French 
admiral, fearful of being drawn to leeward of his port with his 
crippled ships, hauled upon a wind to the eastward on the 
larboard tack. At 6 p.m., Eear-admiral Montagu hauled up in 
line of battle on the starboard tack, and, stretching on, soon lost 
sight of M. Yillaret and his fleet. After standing to the north- 
west during the whole of the next day, in the vain endeavour to 
fall in with Lord Howe, the rear-admiral, at 4 p.m. on the 10th, 
bore away for the Channel, and on the 12th anchored in Caw- 
sand bay, Plymouth ; where he was the same day joined by nine 
ships of Lord Howe's fleet, the admiral, with the remainder and 
the prizes, having, as already stated, proceeded to Spithead. 

On the 11th M. Yillaret, or, rather, Jean-Bon Saint- Andre, 
cast anchor in Bertheaume Bay, in company with M. Cornice ; 
and notwithstanding the comparative unsafety of that roadsted, 
and the pressing wants, as well of the wounded men to be sent 
to the hospital as of the disabled ships to be refitted in the 
dock-yard (the Montague herself had actually to send her rudder 
to Brest to be repaired), M. Jean-Bon Saint- Andrd preferred, 
for the present, the risk of remaining there, to the still greater 


risk, as he conceiyed it, of encountering the indignation of the 
people of Brest, at the loss of so many of their ships, and, in 
killed, wonnded, and prisoners, of so many thousands of their 
countrymen. On the 12th, the same day that Bear-admiral 
Montagu anchored in Cawsand Bay, the long-expected, the 
critically-circumstanced Franco- American convoy, consisting of 
116 sail, within one (a ship having foundered through bad 
weather) of its original number, under the escort of Rear- 
admiral Yanstable, with the three ships of the line, Tigre, Jean- 
Bart, and Montagnard (which latter, it is believed, with the 
Mont-Blanc, had joined him near the scene of action on the 
29th of May), anchored in the road of Bertheaume : notwith- 
standing the promised sharp look-out which was to have been 
kept for it by British fleets and squadrons. This joyful event 
happened very opportunely for the discomfited admiral and 
deputy ; and the French men-of-war fleet and merchant convoy 
entered Brest in triumph. 

Having conducted both admirals and both fleets, after the 
great battle fought between them, to the respective ports from 
which they originally sailed, we shall take a cursory notice of 
some of the published accounts on each side connected with the 
siibject. Jean-Bon Saint-Andre's official report to the National 
Convention contains, among many minor ones, two important 
mistakes : one, that the British fleet consisted of 28 sail of the 
line, drawn up for battle, besides a reserve of several others ; and 
secondly, that two British ships sank in the action, one while 
engaged to windward with the Montague, and the other in the 
rear, upon the authority of Eear-admiral Nielly, who is staled 
to have declared that he saw her go down. As a set-ofl* to this, 
most of the English unofficial accounts gave the French 27, and 
some 28, sail of the line ; and Lord Howe's letter expressly 
states, that one French ship *^ sank in the engagement." M. de 
Poggi, who published in England a ** Narrative of the Proceed- 
ings" of Lord Howe's fleet, rectifies the mistake about the 
sinking of the Jacobin, but makes a much greater, by declaring, 
that the Audacieux, Montagnard, and Mont-Blanc, foundered : 
the last after the action of the 29th of May, and the two former 
in that of the 1st of June. 

The conventional deputy blames several of the captains for 
not obeying signals, and scruples not to declare that, but for their 
gross neglect, ** et notamment Timperitie de celui du Jacobin," 
the French, instead of losing any of their dismasted ships, would 
have captured all those of the British. Jean-Bon SaintrAndr^ 


further declares, that he left his enemy in a worse condition than 
himself; that Lord Howe, had he possessed the means of attack* 
ing him, would have employed them, as the French did not 
attempt to escape ; ajod that the Britii^ admiral took no steps 
to prevent the French frigates, and even the smallest of the 
corvettes, from towing away those ships which had been forced 
out of the line. 

The charge against the captain of the Jacobin is both an xmr 
fomided and an ungrateful charge. Was it not a shot from 
that ship, which, by cutting away the foretopmast of the Queen 
Charlotte, enabled the Montagne to effect her escape? And 
had not Lord Howe good reason to attribute the paucity of his 
prizes, although seven in number, to the palpable remissness of 
several of his captains ? There were, undoubtedly, at the close 
of the action, 12 or 14 English line-of-battle ships, without even 
a topgallantmast shot away ; and some of these ought certainly 
to have secured two (the Scipion and Jemmappes), if not four 
(including the E^publicain and Terrible), of the five more or less 
, dismasted French ships. Of frigates and sloops of war, as on 
almost every similar occasion, the British had not only none to 
spare, but not enough to perform the services, for which, chiefly, 
vessels of that description are attached to a fleet. 

So that, in untoward occurrences of this nature, as in number 
of line-of-battle ships, the British and French fleets were nearly 
upon a par. That Lord Howe should have preferred departing 
with his six prizes, to waiting the issue of another attack, may 
have surprised, whether joyfully or not, the French conventional 
deputy. But perhaps there were not a few among the admiral's 
countrym^i who could appreciate his motive ; who might con- 
sider that, although many of the British ships were in a con- 
dition for active service, those very ships had attained their 
effective state by their tardiness in engaging : while the ships 
that had evinced an eagerness for close combat lay disabled 
around the Charlotte, possessing, like her, all the spirit, but none 
of the means, again to distinguish themselves. In fact, had the 
1st of June battle terminated similarly, in point of indecisiveness, 
to that of the 29th of May, there would have been many un- 
pleasant courts-martial. 

Let us now pay the attention that is due to a professed his- 
torical account of tiie battle, inserted in a French work of some 
celebrity. That account begins by adopting the rhapsodical 
speech of Barr^re de Yieuzac respecting the sinking of the 
Yengeor. It is needless to repeat the account; but some -allow* 


anoe ought to be made for the credulity of the French, when 
their national aelf-love was bo powerfully wrought upon by the 
flaming descriptions of the same event in all the London op- 
position journals. Suffice it, that a first-rate ship of war, then 
constructing at Brest, under the direction of the celebrated 
8an^, the largest (being 24 feet longer and three feet broader 
than the Commerce-de-Marseille), and pronounced to be the 
finest ship that had ever been launched, was to have her name 
changed from Peuple to Vengeur, in commemoration of the 
martyrized ship ; the model of which latter was to be suspended 
under the arch of the Pantheon, and artists, painters, sculptors, 
and poets, were called upon to exert their several talents, in 
celebration of the glorious event.^ However, according to the 
narrative of the proceedings of the Montague, as given in the 
same work, wherein such pains have been taken to perpetuate 
the nonsense of which we have here afforded but a sample, that 
ship, although not reduced to such an extremity as to be a com- 
petitor for the crown of martyrdom, deserved ftilly as well of the 
nation as the Vengeur. 

Having described the onset of the battle, the account states 
that the Queen Charlotte, *' of 120 guns,** attacked the Montague, 
and was several times driven back by the latter and her two 
seconds. That the Jacobin, by manoeuvring improperly, allowed 
Lord Howe, " towards noon," to cut the line, and get under the 
stem and upon the quarter of the Montague, into whom the 
Jacobin herself, by mistake, had till then been firing. That* 
followed by two three-deckers, and three other ships of inferior 
force, the Queen Charlotte surrounded the Montague and cut her 
up beyond example. That the latter remained two hours so 
engaged, and was all the while invisible to the rest of her fieet. 
That the Queen Charlotte ran foul of the Montague and at- 
tempted to board her (at this moment Jean-£on Saint-Andr^ 
went below, as we have already related 2), but that Lord Howe, 
fearing the opposition he was likely to experience, prudently re- 
tired to leeward to the distance of several toises. That the 
Queen Charlotte, presently perceiving the damaged state of the 
Montague, and that her fire had slackened, readvanced to the 
attack ; when a yoimg aspirant, Bouvet by name, who had re- 
ceived three wounds, and whose left arm was then suspended in 
a sling, requested M. Villaret to allow him to sweep the deck of 
the English admiral, *'de balayer le pout de Tamiral Anglais." 
That was precisely what the French admiral most wished ; and 

See Appendix. No. 15. > See p. IIS. 

VOL. I, O 


accordingly young Bonvet, although fired .at from the Qae^i 
Charlotte's tops, riddled with bullets in his clothes, his hat 
pierced in three places, and with five fresh wounds as the price 
of his temerity, discharged a carronade, a 36 (misprinted 56) 
poimder, and had the happiness to see his audacity crowned 
with complete success, *'et a le bonheur de voir son audace 
oouronude d'un plein succ6s." ITie efifect of this carronade, 
pointed at the quarter-deck of the Queen Charlotte, was so 
prompt, that immediately Lord Howe set all his sails, fled, made 
the signal for his ships to follow him, and quitted the immoy- 
able Montagne. *'Ainsi," says the writer of this precious 
article, *' la valeur d*un seul homme donnait la victoire au yais- 
seau anural, et Tarrachait des mains des Anglais, fayant k toutes 
voiles.** ^ Lest even the credulous French reader should take 
all this for a hoax, the writer adds in a note, that on the 26th of 
February, 1795, the National Convention, upon the report of 
Desbourges, a member of the Committee of Safety, passed a 
decree, ordering to be paid to young Bouvet the sum of 300 
francs (scarcely enough, one would think, to equip him with a 
new coat and hat), for his loss of time during the healing of his 
eight wounds, and as a ^* national recompense'* for the courage 
he had displayed in the battle of the 1st of June. 

The following more sober accoimt is from the pen of an ex- 
perienced French admiral. " The action began with great spirit 
on both sides. The English captains, more accustomed than 
ours to manage ships of war, cut through our line in several 
places. Meanwhile the republicans fought with infinite courage. 
Several ships were dismasted or disabled in the two fleets, and 
the action ceased before the victory was decided. One of our 
ships only, the Vengeur, disabled and sinking, had been,*' not 
yet, but this is a mistake of no great consequence, ** taken pos- 
session of by the enemy. But, what is incomprehensible, is our 
abandoninent, upon the field of battle, of six French ships, dis- 
abled but not subdued, which, lying together in a group, kept 
the tri-coloured flag flying, as if stretching forth their arms to 
the fleet, entreating to be succoured. To recover these six 
ships, and to take two disabled English ships,*' probably the 
Queen and Brunswick, '*at no great distance from them, it 
sufficed simply to put about. It is to be wished we could blot 
out this disgraceful event." Aft^r alleging other complaints 
against the commanding officer of the French fleet, M. Kerguelen 
proceeds as follows: ''We have thus sacrificed uselessly the 

^ Victoires et OmquStes, t<Hne iii., p. 22. 




men, the ships, and the interests of the Bepublic. But ignoranoe 
and presumption then presided over its destinies npon the ocean, 
and the most disgraceful defeat was transformed into a genuine 
triumph. We proclaimed a victory, after having lost seven fino 
ships, that mounted upwards of 500 pieces of cannon. We 
gave to the commander-in-chief the rank of vice-admiral,^ and 
threw flowers in the way of the representative that had embarked 
in the fleet, on his return to Brest,'* ^ 

Although none of the English accounts of this battle, and of 
the one or two skirmishes that preceded it, enter very minutely 
into particulars, yet all of them are more or less inaccurately 
drawn up ; and two, as being the work of professional hands, 
claim a share of our attention. One account is rather tactical 
than historical, and may be dismissed in a few words. We 
naturally turned flrst to the plate (out of upwards of 70 that the 
work contains), which purports to give the relative position of 
the rival fleets at the time that the Csesar, on the 29th of May, 
defeated Lord Howe's plan, by steering large from the enemy^s 
line. Our mortification equalled our surprise, on finding this 
important, this easily-described point of the day's proceedings 
so, to say the least of it, unintelligibly represented.' The plate, 
pmporting to describe the onset of the 1st of Jime battle, is also 
incorrect, inasmuch as it represents the attack to have been 
made " at right angles," or perpendicularly to the enemy's line : 
whereas, whAever may have been the intention of Lord Howe, 
the attacking force, the rear and a part of the centre of it espe- 
cially, approached in an oblique manner. A French account 
accordingly says : " On vit cette flotte s'avancer k pleines voiles, 
dans un ordre parfait et sur une ligne oblique,''^ * It was this 
oblique approach (caused, as is clear, by the forward movement 

1 The date of M. Villaret-Joyeuse's ap- 
pointment as a vice-admiral is September, 
28, 1794. 

* Histoires desEv^nements des Guerres 
Maritimes entre la France et TAngleterre, 
depuis 1778 Jusqu'en 1796: h Paris, per 
Y. J. Kergaelen ancieu, contr' amiral, 
p. 362.* Another French work has Just 
reached tis, entitled, " Histoire de la Maxine 
de totis les Peuples, depuis la plus haute 
antiquity Jusqu'a nos Jours; par A, J. B. 
'Boavet de Cress^, Professeur de Bellcs- 
Lettres: & Paris, 1824." We are disap- 
pointed. All that it contains in the way 
of novelty is the following liberal remark 
of the writer, in reHerence to the mutinous 
proceedings of the Brest fleet, see p. 6*1, 
in the summer of 1793 : " D^clarons, avant 

tout, que, dans cette afTaire. et dans toutes 
celles qui pr^c^^rent et suiverent, soit k 
bord du Censeur on du Ca-ira, soit h bord 
de la Jfontagne, soit k Aboukir, soit k 
Trafalgar, nul Fran9ai8 n'a k se reprocher 
un acte de f^onle ; declarons encore que, 
6ur ancun point, I'Anglais n'a Jamais os^ 
attaquer les €mules des Duqucsne, des 
d' Hector, des de Grasse, des la Motte- 
Piquet, etc., etc., sans une force d'un tiers 
en plus. Paris la salt ; Londres, pleurent 
ses etemelles guin^es, le sait mieux en- 
core." tome ii., p. 450. 

8 Naval Battles, from 1744 to the Peace 
in 1814, critically reviewed and illustrated, 
by Charles Ekins, Rear-admiral, C.B., 
K.W.N., Part ii., plate iii., (25), fig. 6. 

* Victoires et Ck)nqu§tes, tome iii., p. 17 . 

* See Appendix, No. 14. 


or head- way of the French fleet), and the neglect of the British 
van-ship, and, through her default, the inability of some of the 
ships near her, to make a close and impressive attack upon the 
French van, that occasioned the French also to say: *'Les 
Anglais, qui avait parfaitement reconnu la position de Tescadre 
fran^aise, n'attaqucrent point I'avant-garde, mais ils s'attaohe- 
rent a combattre le centre et Tarri^re-garde." ^ In direct oppo- 
sition to this the tactical English writer says : '* On the 1st of 
June, had Lord Howe attacked the centre and rear of the 
French line with his whole force, he would have gained a com- 
plete and easy victory ; not to follow up his success, I hold to 
be a great and inexcusable error." ^ 

The next plate in Admiral Ekins's work, or that meant to 
represent '^the situation of the two fleets about 1 p.m. when the 
enemy was completely beaten,"^ is so filled with blunders as to 
require nearly as many distinct explanations as there are ships 
scattered upon it. Let it suffice to state, that all the ships in 
both fleets have their masts standing except the Queen and two 
unnamed ships ; neither of which, however, is meant for the 
Jemmappes, a ship so named appearing as fully masted and 
rigged as any ship upon the plate. " The French fleet," says the 
English writer whom we have next to attend to, "was no longer 
manned and officered as in the splendid times of Louis XVI. 
The high-spirited men who were the companions of De Grace 
(Grasse), Suflfrien (Suflfren), and D'Orvilliers, had fallen beneath 
the axe or the guillotine, or fled from their country to avoid it. 
Most of the seamen had been marched to the Ehine and the 
Moselle, to fill the ranks of the army, and their places were 
supplied by wretched conscripts and fishermen. The captains 
of the ships of the line were men totally imqualified, from their 
habits, for such a station : they had been, with few exceptions, 
masters of merchantmen, and knew nothing of the signal-book 
or the mode of conducting a ship of war."^ — " The British fleet 
was remarkably well manned, but the officers were generally 
deficient from want of practice, the natui*al consequence of ten 
years' retirement : some of them had little idea of keeping a ship 
in her station, either in line of battle or order of sailing, during 
the night and in blowing weather. Habit, however, soon con- 
quered this difficulty ; so that, had the enemy been discovered 
at daylight in the morning, the commander-in-chief might have 
ormed his line of battle with perfect facility from his three lines 

' Viccoires et Conqufites, tome iil., p. 11, * Naval Battles, &c. 

* Naval Battles, &c., p. 190. * Brenton, voL L, p. 246. 


in the order of sailing. The exercise of great guns was not suf- 
ficiently attended to during the cruise."^ 

Now it is singular that the French, amidst all their excuses, 
should never have attributed the unfavourable issue of the battle 
to the inexperience or the cowardice of the crews. " Les marina 
fran^ais, jaloux de'la gloire des guerriers de terre, combattaient 
avec enthousiasme. La victoire ou la mort : telle ^tait la devise 
inscrite en lettres d'or sur les pavilions bleus arbords k bord de 
leurs vaisseaux. Toutes leurs actions montraient qu'ils ne vou- 
laient pas etre parjures. lis se battaient avec la plus rare 
bravoure, et Pintr^piditd des nouvelles recrues rivalisait avec 
celle des vieux marins.'*^ It must be admitted that the French 
crews, those in the captured ships especially, did behave in a 
very gallant manner, and certainly betrayed no want of skill in 
manoeuvring their ships. With respect to the sweeping charge 
against the French officers, and that charge in particular which 
accuses those captains who had been " masters of merchantmen" 
(and of which class, by-the-by, there were not so many as here 
represented) of knowing " nothing of the mode of conducting a 
ship of war," it meets an answer in the noble conduct of Captain 
Lamel, of the Indomptable, on the 29th of May,^ who had very 
recently been promoted from the merchant service, in which he 
had acted as master during a number of years. 

That Lord Howe did not consider his fleet to be very nume- 
rously manned may be inferred from his destroying so many 
valuable prizes and recaptures in preference to sending them in 
for adjudication ; and, respecting the quality of his crews, there 
appears to be a diversity of opinion, even among naval men. 
'' Much has been said by various writers on naval subjects, of 
the manner in which the French fleet was manned, but no 
mention has been made of the ineflective state of the British 
ships when they first put to sea to meet the republicans. An 
idea thereof may be formed by the Montagu having joined 
the grand fleet with only 13 men, including the quartermasters, 
able to take the helm ; seven in one watch, six in the other. 
The captain of her foretop had only been 15 months at sea. 
The Bajnillies was equally destitute of able seamen ; and many 
others neai'ly so."'* We have thus shown, as we trust, that the 
alleged dispai-ity in the manning of the two fleets had no foun- 
dation in fact, not at least to the extent wished to be inferred 
by the post-captain in whose work the assertion is contained. 

1 BrentoD, vol. i , p. 248. « See p. 153. 

> VkJtoiret et Conqu^teB, tome iii., p. 19. * Marshall, vol..!., p. 663. 


The writer, who states also that five of the ships which the 
French carried off " required no m«re than a snmmons from a 
frigate**^ to induce them to surrender, appears to have been as 
much misinformed of what befel the Phaeton while running 
past the dismasted, apparently silenced, and subsequently cap- 
tured, Imp^tueux, as of the age of Lord Howe's prizes, which 
he designates as " a few old ships," and regrets were not de- 
stroyed. The fact is, two only of the seven captured ships, the 
Northumberland and Achille, could be called old, and they 
could find ships of equal if not greater age in the British fleet, 
but not one ship of their own rate, except the Brunswick, that 
equalled them in size. The Yengeur, Imp^tueux, and America 
had only been launched the preceding year ; and the two latter 
were considered as the finest 74s that had ever been seen in a 
British port. But what shall we say of the Sans-Pareil ? Here 
was a ship, also newly laimched, nearly equalling in size the 
Queen Charlotte herself, and which subsequently proved to be 
so fast a sailer that her facility in overtaking French privateers, 
although dead in the wind's eye, and practising every possible 
manoeuvre to escape, would scarcely be credited even of a 

The same writer, who has laboured so hard to disparage the 
victory of the Ist of June, endeavours, or rather (for he has since 
in part retracted his words) did endeavour, to fix upon Eear- 
admiral Montagu a very serious imputation ; because, having, 
on the night of the 8th, with nine two-deckers, including a 64, 
chased nine French sail of the line, one a three-decker, he did 
not, on the morning of the 9th, rush into battle with another 
French fleet, composed of one 120, one 80, and twelve 74-gun 
ships, in an effective state, besides two dismasted 110-gun ships 
and three dismasted 74s, towed by some of the former, and ac- 
companied by a long train of frigates and corvettes. The best 
refutation of so extraordinary a charge is a reference to the 
numbers admitted to have been present on each side. But who, 
upon a mere midshipman's opinion, would have imputed a backr 
wardness to fight to an officer whose professional life through a 
long course of service had been passed in honour, and who had 
already fought and conquered in two frigate actions, each time 
against an opponent of equal force ?^ 

1 Brenton, vol. i., p. 303. served in a ship of war), and 683 tons, and 

' First action fought September 14, the Spanish frigate Santa-Monica, of 32 

1119, between the British frigate Pearl, of guns, 12 and 6 pounders Spanish, 280 men, 

32 guns, 12 and 6 pounders, 220 men (of and 056 tons. The engagement lasted two 

whom 10 only, except tbe ofQoen, had hours, dnriog which the SantarMonica bad 


A summary of the honours and rewards which fell to the 
share of the conquerors in the Ist of June victory will conclude 
our long, but we trust not uninteresting, account of the first 
decisive meeting between the British and republican fleets. On 
his arrival at Spithea^, the gallant veteran (his lordship was 
then 70 years of age) was greeted with joy and enthusiasm. 
On the 26th of June the royal family came down to Portsmouth, 
and immediately proceeded to pay a visit to Lord Howe, on 
board his ship at Spithead. His majesty, attended by his prin- 
cipal minister, there held a naval levee, and presented the 
admiral with a diamond-hilted sword, valued at 3000 guineas, 
also a valuable gold chain to be worn round the neck. The 
royal party then dined with Lord Howe on board the Queen 
Charlotto, and returned to the shore in the evening. The king 
would, it is understood, have invested Lord Howe with the 
riband of the garter, but was restrained from acting, according 
to the claims of justice and the dictates of his heart, by the 
strong political prejudices of the minister at his elbow. 

Of the two admirals next in command to Lord Howe, one 
was created an Irish peer, by the title of Lord Graves, and 
the other Lord Viscount Bridport. Eear-admirals Bowyer, 
Gardner, Pasley, and Curtis were created baronets; and Sir 
George Bowyer and Sir Thomas Pasley had settled upon them 
a pension of lOOOZ. a year each for their wounds. The first- 
lieutenant of every line-of-battle ship in the action, and of the 
Audacious also, was made a commander; and several other 
lieutenants belonging to the difierent flag-ships, as has since 
been the general practice, were promoted to the same rank. It 
need scarcely be stated that the unanimous vote of thanks to 
Lord Howe, and to the officers, seamen, marines, and soldiers 
serving under him in the fleet passed both houses of the British 

Happening to have it in our power, we here subjein the names 
of all the first-lieutenants in Lord Howe's fleet ; as also of the 
second-lieutenants, where the command of the ship devolved 
upon the first, or the first was killed during the engagement. 
John Whitby, CsBsar; George Burlton, Bellerophon; Kobert 
Larkan, Leviathan; Henry Vaughan, Eussel; Peter M'Kellar, 
Eoyal Sovereign; John Monkton, first, Alexander Buddoch, 

38 men killed and 45 wounded, and the and 6 pounders French, nearly 200 men, 

Pearl 12 killed and 19 wonnded. and about 850 tons : action also two hours ; 

Second action fouebt September 30, 1Y80, French ship's loss 20 killed and 24 wounded, 

between the Pear^ as before, and the Pearl's, 6 killed and 10 wounded. 
Frendi frigate £sp€rance, of 32 guns, 12 


second, Marlborough ; John Larkan, Defence ; William Bur- 
gess, Impregnable ; Thomas W. Clayton, second (first killed), 
Tremendous; Adrian Benou, Barfleur; Henry Blackwood, In- 
vincible ; Edward Rotheram, CuUoden ; John Marsh, Gibraltar ; 
John Cochet, Queen Charlotte; William Edward Cracraft, 
Brunswick ; George Rice, Yaliant ; Roger Mears, Orion ; Wil- 
liam Bedford, acting captain on the 1st of June, and Richard 
Dawes, acting first. Queen; Joseph Eyles, Ramillies; John 
Chesshire, Alfred; Ross Donnelly, Montagu; John Draper, 
Royal George; Chapman Jacobs, Majestic; William Ogilvy, 
Glory; Joseph Larcom, Thunderer; and Joseph Bingham, 

The gallant master of the Queen Charlotte, whose skill and 
steadiness in conducting that ship, as well under the stem of the 
Eole on the 29th of May, as under that of the Montague on the 
1st of June, was the theme of praise of all in the fleet, and of 
none more than Lord Howe himself, could only, on account of 
the rules of the service, stand the chance of obtaining that pro- 
motion in his profession, which he coveted more than anything 
else, by being reduced as a master and appointed a lieutenant. 
Mr. Bowen (the present Captain James Bowen, one of the com- 
missioners of the navy) was accordingly made a lieutenant ; and 
the different captains of the fleet, to evince their high opinion 
of his worth, readily appointed him, at Lord Howe's suggestion, 
their agent for the prizes ; thus affording to Lieutenant Bowen 
a handsome remuneration for his- services, but not a jot more 
than he had most honourably earned. 

As it could not be denied that several ships of the British 
fleet had misbehaved themselves, both in the action of the 29th 
of May and in that of the 1st of June, an indiscriminate praise 
of the captains would have been an act of extreme injustice 
towards those who, on both occasions, strove their utmost to 
fulfil the intentions of their gallant chief. The following, there- 
fore, were the officers whom Lord Howe named as meriting a 
" particular claim to his attention." Admirals Graves and Sir 
Alexander Hood ; Rear-admirals Bowyer, Gardner, and Pasley ; 
Captains Lord Hugh Seymour, Fakenham, Berkeley, Gambier, 
John Harvey, Payne, Parker, Henry Harvey, Pringle, Duck- 
worth, and Elphinstone; Captains Nichols of the Royal Sove- 
reign and Hope of the Bellerophon, on the inability of their 
respective flag-officers to remain at their posts, and Lieutenants 
Monkton of the Marlborough and Donnelly of the Montagu, in 
similar situations. 


If, as a contemporary observes, "the discretionary power 
given by the last part of the signal No. 39, on the Ist of June, 
places the conduct of those officers who did not go through the 
line, in a far more favourable point of view than it would other- 
wise have appeared,'' ^ the same cause proportionably enhances 
the conduct of those officers who, scorning to shelter them- 
selves behind such a plea, boldly dashed into the thickest of 
thfe fire. 

The difficulty of a due discrimination was certainly very 
great, and Lord Howe did well to relieve himself from much of 
the responsibility, by transmitting to the Admiralty the logs of 
the several ships of the fleet, signed by their respective captains. 
With these documents before them, the Lords of the Admiralty 
restricted the delivery of medals to the flag-officers and captains 
of the ships that appear in italics in the following list : GsBsar, 
Belleroplion^ Leviathan, Russell Royal Sovereign, Marlborough, 
Defence, Lnpregnable, Tremendous, Barfleur (flag-officer only, 
until at a later day, when her gallant captain received one). 
Invincible, Culloden, Gibraltar, Queen Charlotte, Brunswick, 
Valiant, Orion, Queen, RamiUies, Alfred, Montagu, Royal George, 
Majestic, Olory, Thxmderer; also the Audacious, The Mon- 
tagu's captain was killed in the action, and the Brunswick*8 
captain had since died of his wounds. 

The captain of the Csesar, one of the expected ships, felt dis- 
pleased at the following paragraph in Lord Howe's letter, de- 
scribing the partial engagement of the 29th of May : " But, as 
the smoke at intervals dispersed, it was observed that the 
Caesar, the leading ship of the British van, after being about on 
the starboard tack and come abreast of the Queen Charlotte, had 
not kept to the wind ; and that the appointed movement would 
consequently be liable to fail of the purposed effect." 

Captain Molloy accordingly wrote to request a court-martial 
upon his conduct on that day. Lord Howe wished to include 
that on the 1st of June. The order was granted, and the court- 
martial sat on board the Glory in Portsmouth harbour, from the 
25th of April to the 15th of May, 1795. The court pronounced 
Captain Molloy *s personal courage unimpeachable, but, consider* 
ing that he had not done his best to pass through the enemy's 
line on the 29th of May, nor taken a proper station for coming 
to action with the enemy on the 1st of June, dismissed him from 
the command of the Csesar. 

It is probable that this, as well as some other courts-martial, 

1 Brenton, toI. i., p. 3tl. 


would hare been spontaneously ordered by the Admiralty, but 
that such a proceeding was considered likely to detract from the 
dclat of the victory. In onr humble opinion, no consideration 
of that kind ought to have been allowed to check the course of 
justice. Every officer virtually complained against should have 
been tried for his conduct : it is not improbable that, although 
some might have been found guilty, others would have cleared 
themselves from every shadow of blame. 

We must not omit to add, that the corporation of the Trinity 
House, the merchants at Lloyd's, and the cities of London^ 
Edinburgh, and Dublin, with the usual hTberality of Britons on 
such occasions, opened a subscription for the relief of the 
wounded, as well as of the widows and children of those who 
had fallen in the action; whereby a considerable fund was 

On the 22nd of June Eear-admiral Comwallis, in the Excellent 
74, sailed from Plymouth Sound, with a fleet of 12 sail of the 
line (all 74s but one, a 64), to cruise in the Bay of Biscay, and 
escort the East India fleet clear of soundings ; and, on the 7th 
of September, Lord Howe, in the Queen Charlotte, with a fleet 
of 34 ships of the line, including the five Portuguese 74s, 
Vasco-de-Gama, Maria Primeira, Rainha-de-Portugul, Cond^ 
de-Henrique, and Princessa-de-Biera, sailed from Torbay, and 
stood over to the coast of France. On the 9th, having arrived 
off IJshant, the admiral detached the Leviathan, Eussel, and two 
frigates, to look into Brest road ; but, before the ships coidd put 
their orders into execution, Lord Howe recalled them, the wind 
having come too far to the northward to secure their safe return. 
The British fleet then took its departure from Ushant, and stood 
down Channel into the track (latitude 49° to 50° north, and 
about 25 leagues to the westward of Scilly) of the British, as 
well as the Dutch and Spanish, merchant-convoys; a few of 
which latter passed through and obtained the protection of the 
fleet. After having cruised eight days with pleasant easterly 
weather, a fresh breeze sprang up from the south-west, and, 
veering to north-west, with thick weather, set in to blow a very 
severe gale. A heavy sea arose in consequence, and the ships 
of the fleet were soon obb'ged to b*e to, under their storm-stay- 
sails and close-reefed main topsails. The veteran admiral, how- 
ever, persevered in keeping the sea until, on the 20th, the 
Invincible, Bamillies, Tremendous, and Arrogant, severally made 
tlie signal of distress. Lord Howe, on this, bore up; and, 
shortly after the fleet had wore, the Maria Primeira, Commodore 


Marie, c&rried away her bowsprit and foremast. The fleet was 
immediately bronght to on the larboard tack, and the admiral 
ordered the Orion to stay by the disabled ship. On the 2l8t the. 
fleet again bore up, and, late the same evening, re-anchored in 

Early in November Lord Howe again sailed, and, occasionally 
patting into port to refit and water, cruised to the westward and 
in the Channel dnring the greater part of the remainder of the 
year. Bnt the British admiral was not aflbrded a second oppor* 
tnnity of distinguishing himself, as the Brest fleet did not 
again quit port ; not, at least, until almost the last day of the 

In the latter end of October, or beginning of November, Bear** 
admiral Nielly, with the five 74-gun ships, Marat, Tigre, Droitfih 
de-FHomme, Pelletier, and Jean-Bart, the Charente, Fraternity, 
and Gentille frigates, and Papillon brig-corvette, sailed from 
Brest on a cruise to the westward, and, as it was understood, to 
endeavour to intercept the homeward-bound Lisbon and Oporto 
fleet. On the 6th of November, at 2h. 30 m. a.m., latitude 
48° 25' north, longitude (from Greenwich) 7° 53' west, this 
squadron fell in with the two British 74-gun ships Alexander, 
Captain Eichard Eodney Bligh, and Canada, Captain CharleB 
Powell Hamilton, returning to England after having escorted 
the Lisbon and Mediterranean convoys to a safe latitude. 

The two British ships, when first seen, were to leeward of the 
French squadron, steering north-east, with the wind at west. 
The Alexander and Canada immediately hauled upon the wind, 
on the larboard tack, and, at a little before 4 a.m., passed the 
strange ships, the nearest distant about half a mile, but without 
being able to ascertain their national character. Shortly after- 
wards the two British phips kept a little free, letting out the 
reefs of their topsails, and setting studding-sails. At 5 a.m. it 
was discovered by the night-glasses that the strangers were 
standing after the British ships ; whereupon the latter crowded 
all sail, and hauled more to the eastward. At about daybreak 
the Canada passed the Alexander, and, steering a more northerly 
course, brought herself on the latter's larboard bow. Two ships 
of the line, one bearing a rear-admiral's flag, and two frigates, 
now went in chase of the Canada ; and the remaining three ships, 
one with a commodore's pendant, and one frigate, pursued the 

At 7h. 30m. a.m., the French squadron hoisted English 
colours, and at 8 h. 15 m. a Ji., the Alexander and Canada did 


the same. On observing this, the French hauled down the 
English, and hoisted their own colours. The division in chase 
of the Alexander now drawing within gunshot, the latter dis- 
charged her stem-chasers at the van ship, and received in return 
a fire from her bow-guns. At 9 a.m. a similar interchange of 
firing took place between the Canada and the French admiral 
in the Marat ; whose shot, passing over the former, produced no 
effect. The Canada's signal was now made to form ahead for 
mutual support; a signal which Captain Hamilton instantlj 
answered, and strove his utmost to execute; but the French 
admiral, seeing the British ship*s intentions, hauled more to 
the starboard, and, with the aid of his second, who now 
began firing at intervals, compelled the Canada to resume her 

The Alexander continued firing her stem-chase guns until 
early 11 a.m. ; when the advanced ship of the three in chase 
of her (believed to have been the Jean-Bart) ran up and brought 
the British ship to close action. So well-directed a fire in return 
was opened by the Alexander, that, in half an hour, the French 
74 was compelled to sheer off and call a frigate to her assistance. 
The French commodore, in the Tigre, next advanced, but would 
not come fairly alongside: notwithstanding which, the Alex- 
ander, in about half an hour, shot away the head of the Tigre's 
main topmast, her main yard in the slings, and her mizen top- 
mast. A third ship now took the latter's place, and used her 
endeavours to compel the Alexander to surrender. 

This unequal conflict the British 74 sustained Tmtil some 
minutes past 1 p.m. ; by which time she had her main yard, 
spanker-boom, and three topgallantyards shot away, her three 
lower masts shot through in many places, all the other masts and 
yards more or less wounded, nearly the whole of the standing 
and mnning rigging cut to pieces, her sails torn into ribands, 
her hull shattered, and on fire in several places, and her hold 
nearly filled with water. The other ships, also, which had 
quitted her consort, were rapidly advancing, and the French 
admiral already threw his shot over her. Captain Bligh, there- 
fore, justly deemed any further efforts as a needless waste of 
lives, and ordered the colours of the Alexander to be hauled 

As far as could be ascertained, the Alexander's loss amounted 
to about 40 men in killed and wounded ; including, among the 
latter, one lieutenant of marines, the boatswain, and pilot. The 
Canada, owing to the high firing of the French, sustained very 


little damage and no loss, and reached a home-port in safety. 
According to the French papers, the Alexander's two principal 
opponents were very much disabled, and sustained between 
them a loss in killed and wounded amounting to 450 officers 
and men. 

Escorted by the squadron of M. Nielly, the Alexander pro- 
ceeded to Brest, and, as a proof that her damages were of the 
most serious kind, was with difficulty floated into the harbour. 
Captain, or rather Eear-admiral Bligh (for he had been pro- 
moted during his absence), in his letter to the Admiralty, of 
date November 23, states that he was treated by his captors 
with great kindness and humanity ; but it would otherwise ap- 
pear, that the acts of the French authorities at Brest toward the 
Alexander's late officers and crew were quite of an opposite 
character : " Here the population (populace) insulted the pri- 
soners as they marched to the place of their confinement: 
officers and men shared the same lot ; they were denied the 
commonest rations of provisions, and reduced to starvation. A 
wretched dog that crept into the cells was killed, and his head 
alone sold for a dollar, to satisfy the cravings of nature : a 
prisoner, in a state of delirium, threw himself into the well within 
the prison walls, and his dead body, after lying some time, was 
taken out, but no other water was allowed to the people to 
drink ; an English lady and her daughters, confined with the 
men, had no separate apartment, and all their privacy was 
supplied by the generous commiseration of the British sailors, 
who, standing side by side close together, with their backs 
towards the fair captives, formed a temporary screen while they 
changed their garments. These facts were supplied to the 
author by the officers who were present."^ At all events. 
Bear-admiral Bligh and his officers received the most marked 
attention from Captain Eenaudin, the late commander of the 
Vengeur ; and who, having been exchanged for Captain Cotes 
of the Thames, had recently returned to Brest. 

Cn the 27th of May, 1795, Rear-admiral Bligh, having got 
back to his country, was tried by a court-martial for the loss of 
the Alexander, and, as may well be supposed, was most honour- 
ably acquitted. 

A few weeks before the year closed, a ship of the Channel 
fleet, that had missed the opportimity of distinguishing herself 
in action with the French fleet, gave to her name some con- 
siderable degree of notoriety, by becoming the scene of a very 

^ firenton, voL i., p. 364, 


disgraceful and by no means unalarming procedure. On the 
3rd of December, at 10 pji., as the 74-gTm ship Culloden, Cap- 
tain Thomas Troubridge, lay at Spithead, the greater part of her 
crew, bursting into open mutiny, unshipped the ladders, and bar- 
ricaded themselves below. The oflScers having got the marines 
under arms, sent to acquaint the admiral of the Channel fleet, 
and the captain of the ship, who was then on shore. On the 
ne3rt morning, the •4th, at 7 a.m., the petty officers, who had 
been confined below by the mutineers, were allowed to come on 
deck ; and several of the well-disposed among the people took 
the opportunity of effecting their escape. On calling a muster 
at a few minutes before noon, the well-disposed were found to 
consist, besides the commissioned and warrant officers, of the 
whole of the petty officers, all the marines but six, and 86 of the 
seamen ; leaving about 250 for the number of the mutineers. In 
the course of the afternoon Admirals Bridport, Comwallis, and 
Colpoys came on board, and endeavoured, but in vain, to per- 
suade the men to return to their duty. 

Matters continued in this alarming state during the whole of 
the 8th, 9th, and 10th ; except that, on the latter day, the mu- 
tineers permitted the necessary water and provisions to be got 
up from below. On the 11th, Captain the Honourable Thomas 
Pakenham went on board, and succeeded, at last, in persuading 
the men to return to their duty. The ship's company were then 
mustered, and the ringleaders, ten in number, seized and sent on 
board different ships, there to .await their trial. It was dis- 
covered that the mutineers had broken into the magazine, raised 
a barricade of hammocks across the deck between the bits, had 
loaded with grape and canister shot the two second guns from 
forward, and pointed them towards the hatchway, and had col- 
lected upwards of 50 muskets and several tomahawks. On the 
15th of December a court-martial sat on the ten mutineers ; two 
of whom were acquitted, and eight sentenced to be hanged. On 
the 13th of January five of the eight suffered on board the 
Culloden at Spithead, and the remaining three received the 
king's pardon. 

The proceedings of the British Mediterranean fleet, which 
was still commanded by Admiral Lord Hood,^ now demand our 
attention. Lord Hood, who soon after the evacuation of Toulon, 
the more conveniently to take onboard provisions and wine from 
Gibraltar, Alicant, and Minorca, had remained with his fleet in 
the Bay of Hydros, an anchorage formed by a small group of 

^ See page 96. 

1794.*]] LORD HOOD AT GOBfilCA. 207 

islands of that name, eitaated in the yicinity of Tonlon, haying 
received intelligence that the republican forces at Corsica were 
much straitened for provisions, detached several cruisers, with 
orders to prevent any succours from being thrown into the 
island. Among the detached ships was the Ardent 64, Captain 
Bobert Manners Sutton ; who was stationed off the harbour of 
Villa-Franca, for the chief purpose of watching two French 
frigates, which, according to intelligence received, were prepar- 
ing to conduct to Corsica a convoy of vessels, having on board 
a supply of troops and stores. While employed on this service, 
the Ardent unfortunately caught fire, blew up, and left not a soul 
alive to relate the origin of the catastrophe. The quarter-deck 
of the ship, with some of the gunlocks sticking in the beams, 
and the marks of the splintei^netting deeply impressed on the 
planks of the deck, was found floating not very far from the spot, 
and thus leffc no doubt of the manner in which the Ardent had 
been lost. 

The great importance of Corsica to France in the present state 
of her ships and arsenals at Toulon, and the no less importance 
of the harbour of San Fiorenzo to Great Britain, as a point of 
rendezvous for her Mediterranean fleets, suggested to Lord Hood 
and Major-general Dundas the propriety, with the troops then 
on board the fleet, of assisting the loyal part of the inhabitants 
in an attempt to expel the French from the island. Accordingly, 
on the 24th of January, at 4 p.m., after two officers, sent to com- 
municate with Greneral Paoli, had returned with a favourable 
report, the British fleet amounting, including army-victuallers, 
horse and other transports, to 60 sail, got under way from the 
Bay of Hyeres, and proceeded towards the Bay of San-Fiorenzo. 

On the next day, the 25th, a gale of wind came on, and dis- 
persed and endangered the fleet ; the Victory, among other ships, 
having had two maintopsails blown to rags, and the yard itself 
rendered totally unserviceable. On the 29th the fleet, being 
driven greatly to leeward, gained, but not without difficulty, 
Porto-Ferrajo, in the island of Elba. As three-decked ships 
were not qualified to navigate narrow seas and rocky coasts, 
particularly in the winter season, the 74-gun ships, Alcide, 
Captain John Woodley, bearing the flag of Commodore Robert 
Linzee, Egmont, Captain Archibald Dickson, and Fortitude, 
Captain William Young, accompanied by two frigates, the 
Lowestoffe and Juno, and by several transports with troops, 
were detached, on the 5th of February, to a bay lying to the 
westward of Cape Mortella ; where they arrived in safety on the 


7th. On the same evening the troops, in number about 1400, 
and commanded by Major-general Dnndas, disembarked, and 
immediately took possession of a height which overlooked the 
tower of Mortella, the first of several strong positions necessary 
to be reduced, before the anchorage at the west side of the gulf 
of San-Fiorenzo could be made properly secure; and which 
tower, it will be recollected, had been recaptured from the 
British, or rather from the Oorsicans, in the October of the pre- 
ceding year, by a squadron of French frigates. 

An attack against the tower, by sea and land, was decided 
upon ; and, on the 8th, the Fortitude and Juno anchored in the 
best manner for battering it with effect. The two ships kept 
up an imremitting fire for two hours and a half; without, how- 
ever, making any material impression on the walls of the build- 
ing. At the end of this time the Fortitude's mainmast was 
much wounded, ijiany of the shrouds were cut away, three of 
her lower-deck guns dismounted, several hot shot in her hull, 
and a great many of her men had been blown up by an explo- 
sion of powder from a box which had been struck by a hot shot 
The ship also was now so near to the tower and the rocks, that, 
should the wind die away, it would be difiScult, and, should it 
blow on shore, might be impossible, to save her. Under these 
circumstances, the two vessels ceased firing, and hauled out of 
gun-shot. The Fortitude sustained a loss of six men killed, and 
56 wounded, eight of them dangerously. No sooner had the 
ship got clear of the tower, than she was perceived to be on fire, 
from the second deck to the upper part of the quick-work on 
the quarter-deck, occasioned by a hot shot that had lodged in 
her side. After cutting out the shot, and opening the side in 
several places, the fire was extinguished ; and that, fortunately, 
before it had produced^ny material damage. The Juno, although 
she had been admirably placed by her commander, came off with 
very little damage, and without any loss. 

The battering from the height on shore had been as unsuc- 
cessful as that from the ships, till some additional pieces were 
mounted, and hot shot used ; when one of the latter, falling 
among, and setting fire to, the bass-junk with which, to the 
depth of five feet, the immensely thick parapet was lined, in- 
duced the garrison, 33 only in number, and of whom two were 
mortally wounded, to call for quarter. The tower mounted one 
6 and two 18 pounders ; the carriage of one of which had been 
rendered unserviceable in the course of the cannonade. These 
guns had been brought on shore from the French frigates, when 


they retook the tower in October, 1793. There was a famace 
for heating shot, and the garrison had abont forty 6 and one 
hundred and thirty-five 18-poiinder charges left at the time of 
surrender.^ It is bnt justice to Ensign Thomas le Tellier and 
his men (four of whom were seamen) to acknowledge, that they 
proved themselves skilful artillerists, and maintained their post 
until it was no longer tenable. 

The following detailed account of what damage the Fortitude 
suffered by the fire from the tower is, indeed, the best encomium 
that can be passed upon the little garrison within it. Two 
18-pound shot through the centre of the mainmast, and nine main 
shrouds shot away. One of the lower-deck port-timbers cut 
through, and all the sill of the port carried away. One of the 
quarterndeck ports cut down to the deck. The heels of the fore- 
topgallantmasts and foretopmast, and the cap and cross-trees 
shot away. The spare maintopmast and jibboom cut through. 
Some shots in the hull, but none under water. A great part of 
the running rigging and blocks shot away, and most of the top- 
mast-backstays ; also, as already stated, three lower-deck guns 

The next post to be attacked was the Convention redoubt, 
mounted with 21 pieces of heavy ordnance, and considered as 
the key of San-Fiorenzo. By the most surprising exertions of 
science and labour, on the part of the officers and men of the 
navy, several IS-pounders and other pieces were placed on an 
eminence of very difficult ascent, 700 feet above the level of the 
sea. This rocky elevation, owing to its perpendicularity near 
its summit, was deemed inaccessible ; but the seamen, by means 
of blocks and ropes, contrived to haul up the guns, each of which 
weighed about 42 hundred weight. The path along which these 
dauntless fellows crept would, in most places, admit but one 
person at a time. On the right was ti descent of many hundred 
feet ; and one false step would have led to eternity ; on the left 
were stupendous overhanging rocks, which occasionally served 
as fixed points for the tackle employed in raising the guns. 
From these 18-pounders, so admirably posted, a cannonade was 
unremittingly kept up during the whole of the 16th and 17th. 
On the latter evening, when the fire of the redoubt had become 
nearly overpowered, it was determined to storm the works ; a 
service which was executed with vigour, and crowned with suc- 

1 A contemporary, in the very teeth of (barbette) on a sliding-carriage, and re- 
the official re turn, says : " The force was coiling on an inclined plane." Breifton, 
only one 24-puunder, mounted en barbet vol.'ii., p. 54. 

VOL. I. P 


cess. A part only of the garrison was made prisoners : the 
remainder retired to another stronghold, which was distant 
about 400 yards, and separated by a deep ravine, from the former. 
That post the republicans abandoned about midnight, then 
crossed over to the town of San-Fiorenzo with their two frigates, 
and left the British in quiet possession of the tower and batteries 
of Fomelli. On the next day, the 18th, the squadron anchored 
in perfect security, in Mortella bay. On the 19th the French, 
having set fire to one of their frigates, and left the other sunk, 
and to all appearance destroyed by the shot from the British, 
evacuated the town of San-Fiorenzo, retreating towards Bastia. 
On the same evening San-Fiorenzo, with its formidable batteries 
mounting 25 pieces of cannon, including two 12-inch mortars, 
two 36, and seven 24 pounders, was taken possession of by the 
British ; and the seamen soon found means to weigh and carry 
off the Minerve, a fine French 38-gun frigate. The prize was 
taken into the British service, named (there being already a 
Minerve) San-Fiorenzo, and established as a first-class 36. The 
frigate which had been set on fire was the Fortimee, of the same 
force as the Prudente, and others of her class. 

The loss sustained by the combined forces in these several 
attacks amounted to 17 privates killed, one lieutenant, and 36 
non-commissioned officers and privates wounded. General Paoli, 
at the head of about 1200 Corsicans, was at hand, ready to assist 
the British, in case his services should be required. The active 
part taken by the navy, in all the operations on shore, none 
were more ready to acknowledge than Major-general Dundas, 
the commanding officer of the land-forces. 

Lord Hood, having failed to convince Major-general Dundas 
of the practicability of reducing Bastia, the capital of Corsica, 
with the small force which had already effected so much, sailed 
from San-Fiorenzo bay on the evening of the 23rd, to try what 
effect the appearance of his fleet alone would produce. After 
cruising off the port for a fortnight, and gaining every intelli- 
gence necessary to facilitate his plans, the British admiral, with 
a part of his squadron, sailed back to San-Fiorenzo bay ; where 
he arrived on the 5th of March. The major-general still de- 
clining to act, until the arrival of an expected reinforcement of 
2000 men from Gibraltar, Lord Hood took on board that pro- 
portion of the land-forces which had originally been ordered to 
serve on board the fleet as marines, and obtained, also, two 
officers and 30 privates of artillery, with some ordnance-stores 
and intrenching tools. 


With this force, on the 2nd of April, Lord Hood again set sail 
for, and on the 4th arrived at, the anchorage before Bastia. On 
the same evening the troops, commanded by Lieutenant-colonel 
Vilettes, with the gans, mortars, and ordnance-stores, and also 
a detachment of seamen commanded by Captain Horatio Nelson 
of the Agamemnon, were, nnder the able superintendence of the 
latter, disembarked at a spot a little to the northward of the 
town. The total of the combined forces, when landed, amounted 
to 1248 oflBcers and men, exclusive of the Corsicans, under 
General Paoli, in number about the same ; and the number of 
]Prench and Corsican troops in garrison at Bastia was, as it 
afterwards appeared, 3000. Lord Hood moored his fleet, in the 
form of a crescent, just out of reach of the enemy's guns, the 
Fortitude, Captain Young, being stationed as the centre ship ; 
while the harbour's mouth was effectually guarded by Captain 
Benjamin HaUowell, with a flotilla of gun-boats and armed 
launches. As the enemy had magazines of provisions and stores 
on the island of Capraia, the recently-captured Mgate Imp^rieuse, 
Captain William Wolseley, was despatched thither, and pre- 
vented the republicans from making any use of them. 

On the 11th the British batteries, which had been erected on 
several commanding heights, being ready to be opened. Lord 
Hood sent a written summons to the town ; but which the 
French general, Lacombe-Saint-Michel, would not even read. 
At the appointed signal, therefore, the batteries, consisting of 
five 24-pounders, two 13, and two 10-inch mortars, and two 
heavy carronades, commenced their fire upon the enemy's works, 
and were promptly answered by the numerous guns with which 
the latter were crowned. The Proselyte, mounting 12-pounders 
(a frigate-bomb, brought away from Toulon), and commanded 
by Captain Walter SerocoM, was directed to be placed as a 
floating^battery against a part of the town ; but, on her coming 
to anchor, the swell cast her the wrong way, and she became 
exposed, in consequence, to a dreadful fire from the enemy's 
forts. The French fired nothing but hot shot at her; and 
several of these, lodging among the casks and other infiam- 
mable stuff" in the hold, set the ship on fire. Captain Serocold, 
having made the signal of distress, continued firing upon the 
town, till the boats from the squadron were alongside ; when he 
and his crew quitted the Proselyte, and the latter, shortly after- 
wards, was consumed by the flames. 

At length, on the 21st of May, after a siege of 37, and a ne- 
gotiation of four days, the town and citadel oi Bastia, with the 


several posts upon the neighbouring heights, surrendered, on 
terms highly honourable to the besieged; whose bravery in 
holding out so long excited the admiration of the conquerors. 

The possession of this important post was accomplished with 
the slight loss, to the army, of seven privates killed and dead of 
their wounds, two captahis and 19 privates wounded, and six 
privates missing; and, to the navy, of one lieutenant (Gary 
Tupper, of the Victory) and six seamen killed, and one lieutenant 
(George Andrews, of the Agamemnon) and 12 seamen wounded. 
The principal naval officers associated with Captain Nelson at 
the batteries, and to all of whom Lord Hood expressed himself 
greatly indebted, were. Captains Anthony Himt, Joseph Bullen, 
and Walter Serocold ; and Lieutenants John Gore, Henry Hotham, 
John Styles, George Andrews, and Charles Brisbane. 

The few republican troops in the island being now completely 
invested by the British and loyal Corsicans, General Paoli, who 
commanded the latter, persuaded the inhabitants to withdraw 
their allegiance from France and transfer it to England. Ac- 
cordingly, the assembly of the general com suit , held at Gorte on 
the 14th of June, declared unanimously the separation of Corsica 
from France ; and, with the same unanimity, and with the 
strongest demonstrations of universal satisfaction and joy, voted 
the union of Corsica to the crown of Great Britain. On the 19th 
the formal sun*ender was made to Sir Gilbert Elliott, his ma- 
jesty's viceroy, and the latter took an oath " to maintain the 
liberties of Corsica, according to the constitution and the laws f 
the members of the assembly, on their part, taking the oath of 
allegiance and fidelity to the king of England. 

The expected reinforcement of troops from Gibraltar having 
arrived, under the command of Lieutenant-general the Honour- 
able Charles Stuart, immediate preparations were made for 
attacking the fortress of Calvi, which was still in the possession 
of a republican garrison. Captain Nelson, of the Agamemnon, 
the senior officer at Bastia in the absence of Lord Hood (who, 
with the bulk of the fleet, had returned to watch the Toulon 
squadron), carried the troops to Fort- Agra, a small cove about 
three miles from Calvi. On the 19th of June the whole of the 
men disembarked, and on the same evening encamped in a strong 
position upon a neighbouring ridge. Lord Hood, returning on 
that day to Mortella bay, sent a detachment of the Victory's 
seamen, with some ordnance and other stores, under the orders 
of Captains Hallowell and Serocold, to Calvi. On the 27th be 
aiTived himself before that place, in the Victory, and immedi- 


ately landed seven of his first-deck guns, for the use of the 
batteries constructed to act against the town and its powerful 
defences. The British batteries were soon opened, but, not till 
the siege had lasted 51 days, could General Casa-Bianca be 
induced to capitulate. This he did on the 10th of August, upon 
terms highly flattering to the bravery of the garrison of Calvi. 

The loss, on the part of the British army, amounted to one 
field-officer, two lieutenants, and 20 privates killed, and three 
captains, four lieutenants, and 46 non-commissioned officers and 
privates wounded ; and, on the part of the British navy, to one 
captain (Walter Serocold, by a grape-shot at the principal bat- 
tery, while getting the last gun into its place), one midshipman, 
and five seamen killed, and six seamen wounded. Among the 
non-reported wounded was Captain Nelson, who lost his eye, in 
consequence of a shot striking the battery near him, and driving 
some particles of sand with considerable force into it. The loss 
sustained by the enemy does not appear in the published 

Amon^ the vessels found in the port of Calvi, ^d delivered 
up to the British, were the French frigates Melpomene and 
Mignonne. The latter mounted 32 guns, 8 and 4 pounders, was 
small and of little value, and, after lying up for a year or two, 
was burnt as unserviceable at Porto-Ferrajo. The Melpomene, 
on the contrary, was a fine 40-gun Mgate of 1014 tons, and was 
added to the British navy as a cruising frigate of the 36-gun 
class. A considerable quantity of naval stores also fell into the 
hands of the British. 

The French in Toulon having succeeded in equipping most of 
the ships, which had been left to them by the British at its 
evacuation, put to sea, on the 5th of June, with the following 
seven sail of the line : 120-gun ship Sans-Cnlotte (late Dauphin 
Eoyal), 80-gun ships Bonnet Rouge (late Couronne) and Ton- 
nant, and 74-gun ships Ceuseur, Duquesne, G^n6reux, and Heu- 
reux, with four or five frigates. Lord Hood, who, as already 
stated, then lay off Bastia, departed the moment he received the 
information, with 13 sail of the Une and four frigates, consisting 
of the 


( Victory. 


Admiral (b.) Lord Hood. 

. < Captain John Kicholson Inglefield. 

„ John Knight. 

) „ .. . ( Vice-adm. (w.) William Hotham. 

I Britannia . , ^ ^^^^^.^ j^j^^ Holloway. 






„ . T> 1 f Vice-adm. (b.) Sara. Cranstoa Goodall. 

Pnncess Royal . | ^^^^^.^ j^^^ (^.,^ p^^.^ 

Windsor Castle / ^^ce-a^^™- (^'^ P^^^'P ^osby. 

Windsor Oastle. | q^^^^ gj, Thomas Byard. 



St. George 
Alcide . 


Bedford . 
Captain . 
^ Berwick 

{Rear-adm. (b.) Sir Hyde Parker. 
Captain Thomas Foley. 
{Rear-adm. (w.) Robert Linzee.' 
Captain John Woodley. 
( Rear-adm. (b.) Skeffington L. 
t Captain George Campbell. 

(Rear-adm. (b.) Archibald Dickson.^ 
Captain John Sutton. 
Robert Mann. 
►Samuel Reeve. 
William Young. 
Thomas Lennox Frederick. 
WUliam Shield. 






FrigateSt Romulus, Juno, Meleager, and Dido. 

On the 10th the two fleets gained sight of each other ; the 
British immediately made all sail in chase. On the 11th, at 
daylight, the British and French admirals were between three 
and four leagues apart. To avoid an action with a force so 
superior, M. Martin pushed for the anchorage in Gourjean bay ; 
which he reached with his fleet about 2 p.m. But none of the 
British ships were able to get near, except the 28-gun frigate 
Dido, Captain George Henry Towry; who received, and gal- 
lantly returned, the fire of some of the rear-ships, as well as of 
two forts that guarded the entrance to the anchorage. It was 
Lord Hood's intention to follow the French into the bay, and, 
from the judicious plan of attack which he had matured, little 
doubt was entertained that every ship of the squadron would 
have been either captured or destroyed, but the prevalence of 
calms and unfavourable winds occasioned the enterprise to be 
abandoned. The plan, as given out in orders, was, for the 
Britannia and St. George to engage the Sans-Culotte ; the 
Victory and Princess Royal, the Bonnet-Rouge; the Windsor 
Castle and Alcide, the G^nereux ; the Bedford and Egmont, the 
Ihiquesne ; and the Fortitude and Captain, the Tonnant. The 
Terrible was to draw off" the attention of the battery on the east 
point of the bay, and the Berwick, of the battery on the west 
point ; while the Illustrious, assisted by the four frigates, were 
to attack the five French frigates. The two French ships of the 
line, Heureux and Censeur, left out of this arrangement, must, it 

1 The extxaordinary number of flag-offlcen in this fleet arose from the recent pro- 



was considered, from their situation, have fallen had the attack 
met with success. 

In the mean time the French had landed some of their guns, 
and erected strong batteries on shore, for the protection of their 
ships. Still, hopes were entertained of destroying the squadron, 
and, for this purpose, two or three fire-ships were fitted, and 
intinisted to the command of two able officers, Lieutenants 
Ealph Willet Miller and Charles Brisbane ; the latter of whom, 
it appears, had suggested the enterprise. But, on approaching 
the bay, these officers found the French so well prepared, and 
80 strongly posted, that this plan also was given up. Both 
plans of attack having thus proved abortive. Lord Hood, taking 
with him, besides the Victory, the Princess Eoyal and two 748, 
proceeded off Calvi, to resume the operations against Corsica ; 
leaving Vice-admiral Hotham, in the Britannia, with the remain- 
ing eight line-of-battle ships, and the four frigates, to watch the 
French ships in Gourjean bay. These afterwards succeeded, 
owing, in a great degree, to the stormy state of the weather, in 
eluding the blockading force, and reached in safety the road of 
Toulon. Early in the succeeding November Lord Hood re- 
turned home in the Victory, leaving the command of the fleet to 
Vice-admiral Hotham. 

On the 10th of November, soon after Lord Hood had quitted 
the station, a most alarming mutiny broke out on board the 
98-gun ship Windsor Castle, Captain William Shield, bearing the 
fiag of Eear-admiral Robert Linzee, and lying at anchor in San- 
Fiorenzo bay. The reason assigned by the mutineers was, a 
dislike to their admiral, captain, first-lieutenant, and boatswain ; 
all of whom they declared should be changed. Vice-admiral 
Hotham, Eear-admiral Sir Hyde Parker, and several captains of 
the fleet, went on board the Windsor Castle, in the hope of pre- 
vailing on the men to return to their duty without the necessity 
of resorting to extremities. This the men positively refused. 
Captain Shield demanded a court-martial, in order that his 
conduct might be inquired into. The investigation took place ; 
and nothing appearing to criminate the captain in the slightest 
degree, he was honourably acquitted. Notwithstanding the 
result of this trial, the commander-in-chief sent to the Windsor 
Castle another captain (John Gore), another first-lieutenant, 
and another boatswain ; and as a still further lenity, pardoned 
the mutineers. 


Light Squadrons and Single Ships, 

On the 3rd of Jannary, the British 12-poTmder 32-giin frigate 
Judo, Captain Samuel Hood, quitted the island of Malta, with 
150 supernumeraries (46 of them the Eomney's marines, the re- 
mainder Maltese), for the use of the British Mediterranean fleet ; 
which Captain Hood, being unapprised of the evacuation of 
Toulon, expected to find at anchor in that port. A strong lee 
current and a succession of foul winds prevented the Juno from 
arriving abreast of the hai'bour's mouth, until about 10 p.m. on 
the 11th; when Captain Hood, not wishing to run the risk of 
being again thrown to leeward, especially with so many men on 
board, determined to get into Toulon as quickly as possible. 
The Juno not having a pilot, nor any person on board ac- 
quainted with the port, two midshipmen, with night-glasses, 
were stationed forward, to look out for the fleet. 

No ships making their appearance in the outer road of Toulon* 
Captain Hood concluded that tlie strong easterly gales had driven 
the fleet for shelter into the inner one : on entering which he 
saw a vessel, as well as the lights of several others, and he had 
now no doubt upon the subject. The Juno proceeded under 
her topsails, until, finding she could not weather a brig that lay 
off" Pointe Grand-Tour, she set her foresail and driver, in order 
to be ready to tack. Presently the brig hailed ; but no one in 
the Juno could understand what was said. Captain Hood, how- 
ever, supposing they wanted to know what ship she was, told 
them her name and nation. They replied Viva, and, after seem- 
ingly not understanding several questions put to them, both in 
French and English, called out, as the Juno passed under their 
stem, Luff, The dread of shoal water caused the helm to be 
instantly put a-lee ; but the Juno grounded before she got head 
to wind. The wind being light, and the water perfectly smooth, 
the sails were clewed up and handed. 

About this time a boat was seen to pull from the brig towards 
the town, for what purpose was not then suspected. Before the 
Juno's people were all off the yards, a sudden flaw of wind drove 
the ship astern. To encourage this, and if possible get clear of 
the shoal, the driver and mizenstaysail was hoisted, and their 
sheets kept to windward. The instant the ship lost her way, 
the best bower-anchor was let go ; on which she tended head to 
wind, but the aftei>part of her keel was still aground, and the 
rudder, in consequence, motionless. The launch and cutter 


were now hoisted out, and the kedge anchor, with two hawsers, 
put in them, in order to warp the ship clear. 

Just before the Juno's boats returned from this service, a boat 
appeared alongside, and, on being hailed, answered as if an of- 
ficer was in her. The people hurried out ojf her up the side ; and 
one of -two persons, apparently officers, told Captain Hood he 
came to inform him, that it was the regulation of the port and 
the commanding officer's orders, that the ship should go into 
another branch of the harbour, to perform ten days' quarantine. 
Captain Hood replied, by asking where Lord Hood's ship lay. 
An unsatisfactory answer excited some suspicion ; and the ex- 
clamation of a midshipman, ^'They are national cockades," 
induced the captain to look at the French hats more stedfastly ; 
when, by the light of the moon, the three colours were distinctly 
visible. To a second question about Lord Hood, one of the 
officers, seeing they were now suspected, replied, " Make your- 
self easy : the English are good people ; we will treat them 
kindly; the English admiral has departed some time."* 

Captain Hood's feelings at this moment can better be conceived 
than described. The words, " We are prisoners," ran through 
the ship like wildfire ; and some of the officers soon came to the 
captain to learn the truth. A flaw of wind at this moment 
coming down the harbour, Lieutenant Webley, the third of the 
ship, said, " I believe. Sir, we shall be able to fetch out, if we 
can get her under sail." There did, indeed, appear a chance of 
saving the ship : at all events, the Juno was not to be given up 
without some contention. The men were ordered to their sta- 
tions, and the Frenchmen to be sent below. Some of these 
began to draw their sabres ; but the half-pikes of the Juno's 
marines were presented to them, and they submitted. 

Never was seen such a change in people : every officer and 
man was already at his post ; and, in about three minutes, all 
the sails in the ship were set, and the yards braced ready for 
casting. On the cable's being cut, the head-sails filled, and the 
ship started from the shore. A favourable flaw of wind, coming 
at the same time, gave her additional way ; and the Juno, if the 
forts should not disable her, had every prospect of getting out. 
The launch and cutter, as well as the Frenchman's boat, that 
they might not retard the ship, were cut adrift. No sooner had 
the British ship begun to loose her sails, than the French brig 
made some stir, and lights appeared on all the batteries. The 

1 *'Soyez tnmquille: leg Anglais sont Tamiral anglais est sorti 11 y a quelque 
(to braves gens; nousles txaitrousbien; terns." 


brig now opened a fire uppn the Juno, and so did a fort a little 
on the starboard bow ; and presently all the forts fired, as their 
guns could be brought to bear. At one time it was feared a tack 
would be necessary, but the ship came up a little ; and finally, 
about half an hour after midnight, after having sustained a heavy 
fire from the different batteries she had to pass, but not without 
answering several of them with seeming good effect, the Juno 
got clear off, without the loss of a man. Her rigging and sails, 
however, were much damaged, and two 36-pound shot had 
struck her hull. 

An enterprise more happily conceived, or more ably executed, 
has seldom been witnessed, than that by which the officers and 
men of the British frigate Juno thus extricated their ship from 
withinside of an enemy's port, filled with armed vessels, and 
flanked by land-batteries of the most formidable description. 
On the 13th, the Juno joined the fleet of Lord Hood, at anchor 
in the bay of Hydros. 

Rear-admiral Comwallis, soon after the surrender of Pondi- 
cherry, in August 1793, having quitted the East India station 
with the whole of his squadron, except a 20-gun ship (by orders, 
it is presumed, as no inquiry apparently followed), the valuable 
interests of the Company became exposed to the ravages of the 
enemy; who, besides two frigates (the Cybele already men- 
tioned, and the 36-gun frigate Prudente, captain and senior 
officer, Jean-Marie Eenaud, and two or three corvettes), pos- 
sessed some very formidable privateers, which had recently been 
fitted out at the Isle of France. On the 27th of September, 
1793, the outward-bound China ship, Princess Royal, mounting 
upwards of 30 guns, an^ commanded by Captain James Horn- 
castle, being in the straits of Sunda, off Anjier point, island of 
Java, was attacked ; and, after 'a long and brave defence, cap- 
tured by three French ship-rigged privateers, each nearly equal 
in force to a British 28-gun frigate. 

In this unprotected state of East India commerce, the 
govemoi^general of Bengal acted prudently in despatching a 
squadron, composed of four or five of the heaviest and best- 
appointed Indiamen, to the China seas, the favourite cruising 
ground of the enemy's frigates and privateers. On the 2nd of 
January this squadron, then consisting of the William Pitt, 
Commodore Charles Mitchell; Britannia, Captain Thomas 
Cheap; Nonsuch, Captain John Canning, and the Company's 
brig tender Nautilus, Captain Roper, arrived off Barbucet-hill, 
in the eastern entrance of the straits of Sincapore. Here Com- 


modore Mitchell received intelligence that a French " 60-gun 
ship," with another ship of 40, and a third of 26 guns, had been 
seen off Falambang, in the straits of Banca ; but, by the time he 
had reached the island of Lingen on his way thither, the com- 
modore ascertained the fallacy of the information, and, steering 
for the straits of Snnda, anchored on the 13th in Anjier bay. 
On the 21st the squadron was joined by the Houghton Indiaman, 
Captain Hudson, and soon afterwards got under way. Early 
the next morning, the 22nd, while the William Pitt was exa- 
mining a detained ship, two strangers in the south-west were 
descried and chased by the Britannia and Nonsuch The strange 
ships were two French privateers, the Vengeur, Captain Corosin, 
mounting 34 guns (French 8 and 6 pounders), with a crew of 
250 men, and the Eesolu, Captain Jallineaux, mounting 26 guns 
(six of them French 12-pounders, the remainder 8s and 68), with 
a crew of 230 men ; both ships from the Isle of France. 

At about 11 A.M., the two privateers being then 6ff the 
Shown rock, near the Zuften isles, the Britannia began engaging 
the Vengeur ; and shortly afterwards the Nonsuch commenced 
firing at the Eesolu. In about three-quarters of an hour both 
privateers, the William Pitt and Houghton then fast coming 
up, struck their colours; the Yengeur with the loss of 11 killed 
and 26 wounded, including among the latter Captain Corosin, 
who died after the amputation of his leg. The loss on board 
the Eesolu does not appear. The Britannia had one man 
killed, and two wounded ; but the Nonsuch, it is believed, not 

These two French privateers had, five days before, made a 
vigorous but unsuccessful attack upon the Pigot Indiaman, 
Captain George Ballantyne, as she lay refitting in Eat island 
basin, near Bencoolen. The entrance of the basin was so 
narrow that one ship only could approach at a time. The 
Vengeur began the attack at 8 h. 15 m. a.m., on the 17th; at 
times within 150, and seldom beyond 350 yards. After fighting 
in this manner nearly an hour and three-quarters, the Vengeur 
cut her hawsers and made sail, and the Edsolu advanced to fill 
her consort's place ; but in 20 minutes she also was obliged to 
cut and run, and both privateers anchored about two miles ofF 
to repair their damages. Their loss, which was supposed to be 
tolerably severe, could not be ascertained. The Pigot mounted 
32 guns, with a crew of 102 men and boys, and was very much 
damaged in her masts, sails, and rigging, but sustained no 
greater loss than one man mortally wounded. This persevering 


defence of their ship was very creditable to Gaptain Ballantyne, 
his officers, and crew. 

, In the afternoon of the 23rd, the William Pitt, Britannia, 
Houghton, and Nautilus, chasing in the north-east, parted com- 
pany ; and, the same eyening, the Nonsuch and the two prizes 
came to an anchor a little to the northward of the Zuften isles. 
The remainder of the squadron also anchored unseen by, and at 
the distance of about six miles from, their companions, abreast 
of the entrance of Bantam bay, between the small islands of 
Pulo-Panjan and Toenda, or Pulo-Baby. On the 24th, at 6 a.m. 
three ships and a brig, being the French frigates Prudente and 
Cyb^le, the late Indiaman, Princess Boyal, now named the 
Duguay-Trouin, and the 14-gun brig^conrette, Vulcain, under 
the command of Captain Benaud, of the Prudente, were seen 
by the Nonsuch and prizes near Dwars in de Weg, or Thwart 
the Way island, working up in chaae, with the wind from north- 
west by north. Finding, by their not answering the private 
signal, that these vessels were enemies, Captain Canning, at 
1 P.M., weighed with the Nonsuch, and, directing the two 
prizes to follow, made sail upon a wind to the north-east. During 
the squally weather of the ensuing night the B^solu parted 
company, and had great difficulty in escaping from the Duguay- 
Trouin, who at one time was nearly on board of her. On the 
25th, at daylight, the Houghton joined the Nonsuch and Yen- 
geur, and informed Captain Canning of the situation of the 
commodore; towards whom all three ships immediately bore 
up. At 6 h. 30 m. a.m. the Houghton, Nonsuch, and Vangeur 
discovered the William Pitt, Britannia, and Nautilus brig at 
their anchorage, and at the same moment saw the French 
squadron getting under way from off Saint-Nicholas point, 
Java ; also a ship, which proved to be the B^solu, trying her 
utmost to get from them. 

At about 8 h. 30 m. a.m. the William Pitt, Britannia, and 
Nautilus, on the near approach of the French squadron, cut 
their cables, and prepared to engage. By this time the shot of 
the Prudente and Cyb^le were passing over the Edsolu: the 
latter, however, continued her course, and ran for protection 
between the William Pitt and Britannia, who now opened their 
fire upon the enemy. At 9 h. 30 m., just as the Cybele, the 
rearmost French ship, was tacking to the southward, the 
Houghton commenced firing into her stem. The Nonsuch, also, 
in a very gallant manner, hauling up her mainsail, and backing 
her mizentopsail, luffed up as close as she could, and poured 


into the Cyb^le an acknowledged destructive fire, losing one 
man by a shot from the latter.^ 

After the firing had lasted in the whole about 18 minutes, the 
French squadron stood away out of gun-shot, and, weathering 
the small island of Pulo-Baby, anchored close to the northward 
of it. Commodore Mitchell having distributed among his ships 
a greater number of French prisoners than the amount of their 
united crews, and each ship, from assisting to man the prizes, 
having scarcely hands enough to work her guns, considered it 
best to make no attempts to renew the action. Nor did the 
French commodore seem more hostilely disposed. 

The squadron of Indiamen afterwards proceeded to Batavia, 
to get a supply of guns and men, and, being reinforced by the 
Dutch 86-gun frigate, Amazone, Captain Kerwal, and an armed 
Dutch Indiaman, cruised without effect until the 8th of Fe 
bruary. Commodore Mitchell then steered for Bencoolen, but 
did not arrive in time to save the Pigot, which ship, on the 9th, 
while at anchor in Eat-island basin, repairing her damages re- 
ceived in action with the two French privateers, was attacked 
and captured by the squadron of M. Eenaud. While getting 
the Pigot out of the basin, the French commodore sent an 
officer, with a flag of truce, to demand the surrender and treat 
for the ransom of Fort-Marlborough ; but the British com* 
mandant rejected both proposals, and, by assuring the French 
officer that the British squadron (meaning Commodore Mit*> 
chelPs) was hourly expected, induced M. Benaud to put to sea 
immediately with his prize. The government of Batavia after- 
wards despatched the Amazone frigate to Sourabaya, at the east 
end of Java, to take possession of two French corvettes, which 
had long since arrived there in search of M. de la Peyrouse, 
and had been hospitably received by the Dutch; but the 
officers and crews of which had since turned republicans, and 
were about to cruise against Dutch property. Captain Kervan, 

1 The following was the exact gon-force of the Houghton and Nonsuch ; and it is pro- 
bable that the Britannia and William Pitt, and indeed all the larger Indiamen, at this 
time, were armed much in the same manner : — 







Lower deck 24 

long 9 


long braSB 


* * * * 

• • 


,, iron 


Upper deck 8 

brass 6 


• 1 > > 



iron 6 


,, (chaMn) 



light carronades 

88 gum. 

34 guns. 


it seemB, secured the two yessels, and the fiatavian goTemment 
sent them as cartels to France. 

In the course of the present year several French frigates, 
chiefly in squadrons of three or four, cruised about the British 
Channel, and were very annoying and destructive to commerce. 
The success that attended this description of force led to its 
speedy augmentation ; and, from the single port of Havre, six 
heavy frigates were launched and equipped. 

To endeavour to put a check to a warfare that was as pro- 
fitable to one party as it was hurtful and discreditable to the 
other, two or three British frigate-squadrons were ordered to 
sea. One of these was commanded by Sir John Borlase War- 
ren, and consisted of the 


38 . « Arethusa. 

^ ^ (Melampus 

n\ / Concorde 

" ^^> \Nymphe. 

Captain Sir Edward Pellew. 

Commod. Sir John Borlase Warren, bart. 

Captain Thomas Wells. 

„ Sir John Richard Strachan. 
George Murray. 


On the 23rd of April, at 4 a.m., rock Douvre bearing east by 
south four or five leagues, the Seven islands south-south-west 
four or five leagues, and Guernsey north-east half-east seven or 
eight leagues, Sfr John's squadron, having just hauled round on 
the starboard tack with the wind at south-south- west, descried 
and gave chase to four strange ships approaching on the op- 
posite tack from the south-east. These were a French squadron, 
composed of the 36-gun frigate, Engageante, Commodore Des- 
gareaux ; 44-gun frigate Pomone, Captain Etienne Pevrieux ; 
36-gun frigate E^solue, Captain (we believe) Antoine-Marie- 
Frangois Montalan; and 20-gun corvette Babet, Lieutenant 
Pierre-Joseph-Paul Belhomme. 

Daylight discovered the national character of these ships ; 
which shortly afterwards formed in line of battle in the follow- 
ing order; Engageante, E^solue, Pomone, and Babet. The 
Flora, which was the leading British ship, as soon as she had 
reached the wake of the enemy's squadron, tacked, and was 
followed by the Arethusa, Melampus, and Concorde, in suc- 
cession ; but the Nymphe was too far astern to be in a situation 
to change tacks. Fortunately for the British, a change of wind 
about this time, from south-south-west to south, enabled them 
to fetch to windward of thefr opponents. 

At 6 h. 30 m. a.m. the Flora, being abreast of the rearmost 
French ship, opened her fire, and, nmning on, received the fire 


of the Babet) Fomone, and Eesolue in succession, but par- 
ticularly of the two former. At 7 h. 30 m. a.m. the Flora's 
maintopmast was shot away, the maintop was cut to pieces, 
and her foremast and all her yards much damaged. In this 
state, with her standing and running rigging greatly injured by 
the enemy's shot, the Flora dropped astern, and was succeeded 
by the Arethusa, who had previously been engaging the Babet. 

The French now set eyery yard of canvas they could spread ; 
but the Arethusa, Melampus, and Concorde, being less injured 
in their sails and rigging than the rearmost French ships, soon 
approached them, and the Arethusa and Melampus, who were 
the headmost, renewed the action with the Babet and Fomone. 
At 8 h. 30 m. a.m. the Babet, having lost her foretopmast, and 
being otherwise much damaged by shot, surrendered, and was 
taken possession of by the Flora. By this time the Engageante 
and Eesolue had made sail, and the Fomone alone remained to 
sustain the fire of the Arethusa and Melampus. The conse- 
quence was, that the main and mizen masts of the Fomone, 
already much shattered by the Flora's broadsides, soon came 
down; and the wreck with the sails upon it, catching fire, 
destroyed a portion of the quick-work, and, for a while, en- 
dangered the ship.^ In this state, at 9 h. 30 m. a.m., after a 
brave resistance, the Fomone hauled down her colours, and was 
taken possession of by the Arethusa. 

The Concorde and Melampus, followed at some distance by 
the Nymphe, now, agreeably to a signal from the commodore, 
gave chase to the Eesolue and Engageante. The Concorde, 
from her quick sailing, soon got near enough to the two French 
frigates to receive and return their fire. It was Sir Eichard 
Strachan's intention to disable the sternmost ship, and then, 
leaving her to be taken possession of by his friends in the rear, 
to push after the leading one ; but the latter, by bearing down 
and closing to support her second, frustrated that plan. This 
frigate, indeed, took so good a position across the bows of the 
Concorde, as to disable her in her sails and rigging, and compel 
her to drop astern. 

Having partially refitted herself, the Concorde resumed the 
pursuit ; yet Sir Eichard had no hopes to effect more than to 
keep his two opponents in check until the arrival of either the 
Jielampus or Nymphe. But as the day was advancing, and 
his companions in the chase rather losing ground than other- 

1 Some of the brass swivels mounted along the gangways were so hot, that they were 
obliged to be thrown overboard. 


wise; and particularly as the Concorde's maintopmast, which 
had been shot through, was momentarily expected to fall, Sir 
Bichard determined to secure the enemy's ship that was nearest 
to him. Accordingly, changing ^sides in the smoke, the Con- 
corde was soon enabled to bring that frigate to close action. The 
latter, which was the Engageante, defended herself with great 
bravery, from noon until 1 h. 45 m. p.m. ; when, the ship being 
silenced in her fire, and, owing to the state of her sails and 
rigging, totally unmanageable, her people called out that they 
surrendered. The other French frigate, after firing a few shot, 
Stood on ; and, as the Concorde, from the damaged state of her 
masts, sails, and rigging, was not [in a condition to follow, and 
the Melampus and Nymphe were too far astern to be able to 
overtake her, the B^solue, Sir Eichard's old opponent in India,* 
effected her escape into Morlaix. 

The maindeck force of each of the five British frigates will be 
discovered by a reference to the letter of her class in the little 
table in vol. iii. The guns on the quarter-deck and forecastle 
were: Arethusa, two long 9-pounders, and 14 carronades, 
32-pounders, total 44 guns ; Flora, 10 long 9-pounders, and six 
carronades, 18-pounders, total 42 guns; Melampus, two long 
12, and six long 9-pounders, and eight carronades, 32-pounders, 
total 42 guns ; Concorde, four long 6-pounders, and 10 carron- 
ades, 24-pounders, total 42 guns. The force of the Nymphe, 40 
guns in all, has already appeared.^ This makes the total guns 
on the British side 210. 

Of the French frigates, the Pomone mounted 26 long 24- 
pounders French on her main deck, and 14 long S-pounders, and 
four brass carronades, 36-pounders, on her quarter-deck and 
forecastle, total 44 guns ; besides swivels along her gangways 
and in her tops. The Engageante and B^solue were armed 
according to the establishment of their class, as paiiicularized 
at No. 7, in the small table at p. 59, except that the Engageante 
wanted two of her 6s ; making the guns of the latter 38, and 
those of the B^solue 40. The Babet mounted 20 long 
8-pounders on the main deck, and two brass 6 or 4 pounders 
on the quarter-deck; making the total guns on the French 
side 144. 

The damages of the Flora we have already detailed. ThOse 
of the Arethusa, although not so heavy, were such as to disable 
her from becoming one of the chasing ships. The Melampus, 
also, suffered in her masts, sails, and rigging, and received some 

1 See p. 131. * Ibid. 108. 


shot between wind and water. ' The Concorde, being still more 
distantly engaged, suffered little or nothing imtil her engage- 
ment with the Engageante ; and the Nymphe, to the great 
annoyance of her officers and crew, was unable to get up in time 
to partake of the action. The Flora out of a complement, if 
all were on board, of 267 men and boys, had one seaman killed 
and three wounded ; the Arethusa, out of a complement of 277 
men and boys, one master's mate (none of the killed or wounded 
officers are named in Sir John Warren's letter) and two seamen 
killed, and five seamen wounded ; and the Melampus, out of a 
complement the same as the Flora's, had her master, three sea- 
men, and one marine killed, one lieutenant of marines, three 
seamen, and one private marine wounded. The Concorde, out of 
a complement of 257 men and boys, appears to have sustained no 
loss until she closed the Engageante, and then had only one man 
killed and 12 wounded. The Concorde's three lieutenants in the 
action, and to whose good conduct Sir Richard bears testimony, 
were Charles Apthorp, Thomas Boys, and Andrew Fitzherbert 

According to the loose statement that appears in the British 
official account, the Pomone lost between 80 and 100, and the 
Babet between 30 and 40 men, in killed and wounded ; the latter, 
out of a crew of 178, and the former of 341. The loss on board 
the Engageante, from her damaged state (her masts having all 
fallen overboard a few hours after the action), must have been 
tolerably severe : but, singularly enough, no account of it appears 
in the British official account, and, at this late day, all other 
sources of information are shut. 

Against so decided a disparity as, from the numbers and force 
on each side, evidently existed in this case, (for if the Nymphe 
did not, neither did the ESsolue in more than a partial degree, 
participate in the action,) the French could never have suc- 
ceeded. Great credit is therefore due to Captains Pevrieiix and 
Belhomme ; and the French commodore, although he made sail 
from his comrades before he had effected much in their behalf, 
defended his own ship manfully, when at length overtaken by the 
Concorde, as the state of the Engageante at her surrender places 
beyond a doubt. 

Deceived by the statement at the foot of Sir John Warren's 
letter, that the Eesolue and Engageante were 18-pounder 
frigates, and unacquainted, it is clear, with the particulars of 
this contest, none of which he gives, a contemporary adds a fifth 
ship to the enemy's force, and then calls Sir John's performance 

VOL. I. Q 


" a very brilliant action.*'^ The same writer has also committed 
a mistake, in stating that '^ the Melampns," instead of the Con- 
codore, " was so fortunate as to capture a third ship." 

Sir John Warren safely reached port with his prizes ; all of 
which were added to the British navy ; the Babet as a sloop, the 
Engageante, from her age and weakness, merely as a hospital^ 
ship, but the Pomone as a cruising 40-gun frigate. 

The Pomone was constructed on a new principle in naval 
architecture, her greatest breadth being at the gun abaft the 
mainmast. She proved an incomparable sailer, and possessed 
every good property of a ship of war ; but, although quite a new 
vessel, her reign, as we shall by-and-by see, was a short one. 
A second French frigate, of the same force and construction, was, 
it is believed, built at Cherbourg in the year 1795, and named 
the Romaine. The principal dimensions of the Pomone were as 
follows : — 

Feet. Inches. 

Length of 'tween decks 159 2j 

Breadth extreme 41 ll| 

Depth in hold 12 4 

Burthen 1239 tons 

Early in the present year the British 12-pounder 32-gun 
frigate Orpheus, Captain Henry Newcome, 50-gun ship Cen- 
turion, Captain Samuel Osborne, and 44-gun ship Resistance, 
Captain Edward Pakenham, arrived on the East India station. 
On the 5th of May, while this squadron was cruising off the Isle 
of France, two strange sail were discovered approaching before 
the wind. These were the French 34-gim ship Duguay-Trouin, 
late Princess Royal, Indiaman,^ and, we believe, the Vulcan 
brig-coiTette. As soon as it was thought that the British ships 
could lay up for the enemy, chase was given ; and, at 11 h. 45 m. 
A. M., the Orpheus, from her superior sailing, got within long 
gun-shot of the Duguay-Trouin. In ten minutes afterwards a 
close action commenced, and, at a little after noon, the Orpheus 
obtained a position upon the Duguay-Trouin's starboard quarter. 
Here she kept pouring in her broadsides until 1 h. 5 m. p.m. ; 
when the French ship, having had her bowsprit shot through, 
and three of the knees of her head cut away, and having sus- 
tained a considerable loss in killed and wounded, struck her 
colours: at which time the Centurion and Resistance were 
about three miles astern, crowding sail to get up. The brig- 
corvette, in the meanwhile, effected her escape. 

1 Breuton, vol. i., p. 240. * See p. 216. 


Having previously, out of her complement of 217, sent away 
in a prize one lieutenant, two midshipmen, and 20 seamen, the 
Orpheus commenced action with only 194 men and boys; of 
whom she had one midshipman (Mr. Singleton) killed, and one 
master's mate (Mr. Staines, badly) and eight seamen w.ounded. 
The Duguay-Trouin had on board, in all, as many as 403 per- 
sons ; many of them sickly. It would be imfair to consider the 
whole number as her complement, when the absence of the idle 
passengers and the sick would have increased rather than 
diminished her effective strength. The Duguay-Trouin' s loss in 
the action amounted to 21 officers, seamen, and marines killed, 
and 60 wounded. The ship is represented to have mounted 26 
long 18- pounders on the main deck, and two 9 and six 4 
pounders on the quarter-deck and forecastle; but it is more 
likely that the former were 12-pounders, the ship having 
mounted guns of that caliber when in the Company's service, 
and her ports not being adapted for 18-pounders. 

The usual figure-statement of comparative force would, in 
this case, afford but a poor criterion of the relative strength of 
the parties, the British vessel being a regular ship of war, while 
the French vessel had recently been a merchant-ship, and was 
fitted out with such stores only as a foreign station, and that a 
very distant one, could supply. Her crew, also, were sickly, 
and, it is believed, short of water and provisions. Moreover, the 
action was fought in sight, and did not terminate till the near 
approach of a greatly superior force. 

On the morning of the 5th of May, as the British 74-gun ship 
Swiftsure, Captain Charles Boyles, and 64-gun ship St. Albans, 
Captain James Vashon, were a few days out from Cork, with a 
convoy in charge, two strange sail, apparently frigates, hove in 
sight to the westward. Both British ships immediately went in 
chase. At 5 h. 45 m. p.m., the Swiftsure hoisted her colours, 
and fired three shot at the larger and rearmost of the two 
frigates ; who thereupon fired a stem-chaser in return, and 
hoisted the republican ensign as did also her consort. The 
latter presently afterwards bore up, and was pursued by the St. 
Albans ; while the Swiftsure continued in close chase of the 
former, which was the French 36-gun frigate, Atalante, Captain 
(de vais.) Charles-Alexandre-Leon Durand-Linois. 

After dark, the St. Albans and her frigate, which ultimately 
escaped, were seen no more ; but the Swiftsure kept sight of the 
Atalante during the night. At 4 a. m. on the 6th the Atalante 
bore from the Swiftsure west by north two or three miles, the 


wind at this time being about north-north-east. The pursuit was 
continued during the day ; and at 5 h. 30 m. p. m. the Swiftsure 
commenced firing her bow-chasers. At 7 p. m. the latter ceased 
firing, the Atalante having increased her distance to about two 
miles. At midnight, vainly hoping that the manoeuvre would be 
unseen by her persevering foe, the Atalante changed her course 
to the southward. On the 7th, at 2 a. m., the French frigate 
hauled yet more up, and the Swiftsure promptly did the same. 
At 2 h. 30 m. a. m. the latter commenced firing her starboard 
guns forward, and the action continued, at long range, until 
3 h. 25 m. ; when the Atalante, being crippled in her rigging and 
sails, and having sustained, out of her complement of 274 men 
and boys, the severe loss of 10 killed and 32 wounded, struck 
her colours. The Swift«ure had her rigging and sails also cut, 
and lost one man killed. 

The endeavours of M. Linois to save his ship from capture, 
and to disable his enemy from pursuit, were highly meritorious, 
and prove that had he met, instead of a British 74, a British 
12-pounder frigate, the Atalante, if conquered at all, would have 
been dearly purchased. 

Scarcely had the prisoners been shifted, a prize crew placed 
on board the Atalante, and the rigging of both ships repaired, 
when, at 10 a.m., thi*ee French 74s, judged to be a part oif 
M. Nielly's squadron, were discovered in chase of the Swiftsure 
and her prize. The two latter immediately separated, and 
steered diflferent courses; but it was not until 10 p.m. that the 
Swiftsure lost sight of her pursuers. The Atalante, exerting the 
same powers for which she had been so long celebrated in the 
French navy, but which had failed to carry her clear of the 
Swiftsure's long-reached and well-directed shot, ran away from 
her ci-devant friends, and actually bent a new maintopsail while 
they were in pursuit of her. 

The Atalante measured 986 tons, and was armed precisely as 
the Engageante. Oh being purchased for the use of the British 
navy, the prize became classed as a 12-pounder 36, but under 
the name of Espion, an Atalante sloop of war being already in 
the service. 

On the 29th of May, in latitude 46^ 38' north, longitude 9Q40' 
west, the British 28-gun frigate Carysfort, Captain Francis 
Laforey, fell in with the French (late British^) 32-gun frigate 
Castor, Captain L*Huillier, having in tow a Dutch merchant 
brig, in chase of which, five days before, she had parted from 
M. Nielly's squadron. The brig was cast off, and an action 

^ See p. 141. 


commenced that lasted, without intermission, one hour and fif- 
teen minutes ; at the end of which time the Castor, who had on 
board her English gims, as specified at -^ in the table at p. 101, 
with four 24-pounder carronades in addition, hauled down the 
republican colours. 

The Carysfort, whose armament was four 18-pounder carron- 
ades beyond her establishment at / in the same table, was very 
slightly injured in masts, rigging, or hull ; and her loss in the 
action, out of a crew of 180 men and boys (she being 18 men 
short), amounted to no more than one seaman killed and three 
seamen and one marine woimded. The damages of the Castor, 
on the other hand, were tolerably severe, having had her main- 
topgallantmast shot away, her mainmast badly wounded, and 
her hull struck in several places. Her loss, out of a crew of 200 
men, consisted of 16 officers, seamen, and marines, killed, and 9 

Comparative Force of the Combatants. 


Ti J -J f No. 16 

Broadside-guns ..... | i^s. 156 

Crew No. 180 

Size tons. 586 



This statement shows that great credit was due to Captain 
Laforey, his two lieutenants (Kichard Worsley and George 
Sayer), remaining officers, and a very new ship's company, for 
having captured the Castor. It is also due to the French of- 
ficers and crew to state that the latter consisted of men very 
recently drafted from all the ships of Eear-admiral Nielly's 
squadron, and who of course did not find on board the Castor 
a rope or an article of any sort arranged in the manner to which 
they had been accustomed. 

This recapture eflfected the release of one master's mate and 
19 seamen, part of the Castor's original crew. The remainder, 
with Captain Troubridge, had, as already has appeared, been 
removed on board the 80-gun ship Sans-Pareil. 

Upon the arrival in port of the Carysfort and her prize, the 
principal officers and commissioners of the British navy claimed 
to have the latter restored to the service, on payment of the 
customary salvage, upon the principle that, as the Castor had 
not been into an enemy's fort for adjudication, she was not, in 
the contemplation of the act of parliament, a complete prize. 
This claim Captain Laforey and his officer T%^\&\fc^\ wsA'Ocl^ 
cause came on to be heard before Sir James lJl«iii\o\.»XJsi^*^^SEk^ 


of the high court of admiralty. The FreDch captain having de- 
posed, in answer to the fourth standing interrogatory, that the 
admiral of the French squadron, by which the Castor had been 
taken, possessed full power and authority to condemn, arm, fit- 
out, and equip all such prizes as he might think calculated for 
the service of the French republic, and that the Castor was so 
armed and equipped, and himself duly appointed to the com- 
mand of her, Sir James Harriot held that this was a sufficient 
" setting forth as a ship of war," according to the meaning 0/ 
the prize-act, and thereupon adjudged that the whole value of 
his majesty's ship Castor, recaptured under the above circum- 
stances, was lawful prize to the officers and crew of the Carys- 
fort The Castor was accordingly purchased by government, 
and restored to the rank she had formerly held in the service ; 
and Lieutenant Eichard Worsley, first of the Carysfort, was also 
made a commander as a reward for his good conduct. 

On the 8th of June, at daylight, a British squadron, composed 
of the 36-gun frigate Crescent, Captain Sir James Saumarez, 
12-pounder 32-gun fiigate Druid, Captain Joseph Elliston, and 
24-gun ship Eurydice, Captain Francis Cole, while cruising ofi" 
the island of Jersey, fell in with a French squadron, consisting 
of the two cut- down 74s, or rasehj Scevola and Brutus,* the two 
36-gun frigates Danae and Felicite, and a 14-gun brig. Seeing 
the decided superiority of the French squadron. Sir James 
ordered the Eurydice, who was a dull sailer, to make the best 
of her way to Guernsey ; while, with the Crescent and Druid 
following under easy sail, he gallantly engaged and kept at bay 
the French ships, until the Eurydice had reached a considerable 
distance ahead. The two British frigates then, finding it time 
to consult their own safety, carried a press of sail to get ofi'. In 
a little while they approached Guernsey, closely pursued by the 
French ships, who made an attempt to cut oft" the Druid and 
Eurydice ; but Sir James, by the following masterly manoeuvre, 
extricated his friends from their perilous situation. The Cre- 
scent hauled her wind and stood along the French line, an 
evolution that immediately diverted the attention of the enemy 
from the Druid and Eurydice. The French commodore now 
made sure of capturing the Crescent ; but the latter having on 
board an old and experienced pilot, pushed through an intricate 
passage, never before attempted by a king's ship, and etfected 
her escape into Guernsey road, greatly to the surprise as well 
&8 disappointment of her pursuers. The lieutenant-governor of 

^ See "p. W. 

1794.] ROMNEY AND 8IBYLLE. 231 

the island, who, with the garrison and inhabitants generally, 
had been a spectator of the event, issued a general order, highly 
laudatory of the promptitude and professional skill displayed by 
the officers and men of the three ships, particularly of the Cre- 
scent,, whose captain, as the general order set forth, was a 
native of the island in sight of which he had evinced so much 
presence of mind and nautical experience. 

On the 17th of June, while the British 50-gun ship Romney, 
Captain the Honourable William Paget, having under her charge 
one Biitish and seven Dutch merchant vessels, bound from 
Naples to Smyrna, was passing between the small islands of 
Tino and Miconi in the Archipelago, a frigate, with French 
national colours and a broad pendant, accompanied by three 
merchantmen, was discovered at anchor in-shore of Miconi. 
The British frigates Inconstant, Leda, and Tartar, from whom 
the Rodney had, on the preceding day, been detached, being 
still in sight from the mast-head. Captain Paget directed the 
convoy to join them ; and the Eomney, hauling to the wind, was 
presently at anchor in Miconi road, within a little more than a 
cable's length of the French 40-gun frigate Sibylle, chef de divi- 
sion, or commodore, Jacques-Melanie Rondeau. 

In the hope to save the effusion of blood. Captain Paget sent 
a message to the French commander, desiring him to surrender 
his ship. This Commodore Rondeau refused, alleging that he 
was well acquainted with the Romney's force, that he was fully 
prepared, both with men and ammunition, and that he had made 
oath never to strike his colours. By the time the Romney's 
officer had returned to his ship the Sibylle had placed herself 
between the Romney and the town of Miconi, which obliged 
Captain Paget to carry out another anchor, and warp the 
Romney farther ahead, in order that her guns might point 
clear of the town. At 1 p.m. the Romney, being abreast of the 
French frigate, and secured with springs on her cables, fired a 
broadside, which the Sibylle instantly returned. The action 
thus commenced lasted, without a moment's intermission, for 
one hour and ten minutes, when the Sibylle, being quite in a 
defenceless state, hauled down her colours, and, with the three 
merchantmen, was taken possession of by the Romney. 

The Romney, when she commenced action, was 74 working 
men short of her established complement ; consequently she had 
on board only 266 men and boys. Of these the Romney lost 
eight seamen killed and 30 (including two mortally) wounded. 
The Sibylle commenced action, as deposed \.o \y^ \)ac^^ qW&xl 


sniriying officers, with a crew of 380 ; of which number she lost 
her second-lieutenant, captain of marines, and 44 seamen killed, 
and 112 officers, seamen, and marines (including nine mortally) 
wounded. The fact of the Eomney's being so short of comple- 
ment had, it appears, reached the ears of M. Bondeau; who, 
knowing, on the other hand, that his own ship could muster at 
quarters upwards of 100 men, and those effective hands, more 
than his adversary, was sanguine enough to hope for that suc- 
cess which his bravery so well merited. 

The Sibylle, although she mounted but 26, had, like other 
40-gun frigates, ports for 28 guns on her main deck, and actually 
fought through her aftmost port one of her guns from the op- 
posite side, a measure which, from her stationary position, was 
not at all inconvenient. The force of that shifting-gnn will ac- 
cordingly be computed. On her quarter-deck and forecastle the 
Sibylle mounted 16 long 8-pounders and two brass carronades, 
36-pounder8, making her total number of guns 44. In the 
official letter the 8s and the carronades are called 9 and 42 
pounders, but no such pounders are known in the French service. 
The mistake, which is a very frequent one, arises from adopting 
the denomination assigned to an English gun of the nearest 
apparent caliber in preference to that used by the French. 

The Romney does not appear to have been supplied with 
carronades ; consequently her 50 long guns, as particularised in 
the first annual absUuct, were all that she mounted. 

Comparative Force of the Combatants. 


u 4 -J (No. 25 

Broadside-guns ^y^ ^^^ 

Crew No. 266 

Size tons 1046 




From this statement it appears, that a British 50-gan ship of 
thoTse days was not, in reality, a very decided overmatch for a 
French 40-gun frigate. Some allowance, however, is to be made 
for the advantage which a two-decker possesses over a one- 
decker in the power of concentrating her fire. Under all the 
circumstances of the case, had the French captain forebome to 
communicate the oath he had taken, not to strike his ship's 
colours, this engagement would have been yet more creditable 
than it was to the officers and men of the Sibylle. 

The Sibylle was built at Toulon in the year 1791, of the best 

materials, and is still, imder the same name, one of the finest 

ebipa of her class in the BritiBh. nayy . T\i<& thxee lieutenants on 


board the Eomney, in her action with the Sibylle, were William 
Henry Brisbane, Francis Ventris Field, and Edward O'Bryen ; 
the first of whom was shortly afterwards promoted to the rank 
of commander. 

On the 7th of August Captain Sir John Boriase Warren, K.B., 
put to sea from Falmouth, with, besides his own frigate, the 
Flora, the 38-gun frigates Arethusa, Captain Sir Edward Pellew, 
Diamond, Captain Sir William Sidney Smith, Artois, Captain 
Sir Edmund Nagle, and Diana, Captain Jonathan Faulknor, and 
36-gun frigate Santa^Magarita, Captain Eliab Harvey, in quest 
of a squadron of French frigates reported to be cruising to the 
westward and northward of Scilly. On the 23rd, at 4 a.m., 
being off the Penmarck rocks, the British squadron discovered 
and chased the French 36-gun frigate Volontaire ; and at 4 p.m. 
the Diamond, Artois, Santa-Margarita, and Diana, engaged and 
drove her on shore near the.Penmarcks; where they left her, 
according to Sir John Warren's despatch, " disabled and irre- 
coverably lost." 

In the mean time the Flora and Arethusa had gone in chase 
of two ship-corvettes to windward of Pointe du Raz ; and which, 
on being pursued, had stood into the bay of Audieme, and come 
to an anchor off the Gamette rocks. Perceiving that the two 
British frigates intended still to close with them, the two cor- 
vettes, which were the Alert and Espion, both recently cap- 
tured from the British, got underway, and ran aground " under 
cover of three batteries." The Flora and Diamond continued 
engaging the French batteries and grounded vessels until 
6 h. 15 m. P.M. ; when the masts of the latter went by the board, 
and a great proportion of their crews got on shore. 

The boats of the two frigates were immediately despatched, 
under the orders of Captain Sir Edward Pellew, to destroy the 
two corvettes. This service, according to Sir John's letter, " was 
fully performed:" that is. Sir Edward Pellew, finding "there 
were from 20 to 30 killed and wounded in the Alert, and a 
greater number in L'Espion, and that it was impossible to re- 
move the wounded to the two frigates," contented himself with 
bringing away 52 prisoners, and leaving the two corvettes to 
their fate; which fate, admitting that they were "bilged and 
scuttled," and "that the rocks appeared through their bottoms," 
was inevitable. So Sir John Warren appears to have reasoned, 
as he immediately stood to sea with the squadron. 

The French ships of war, thus " destroyed," are officially rer 
presented as 


La Felicity . 

. 40 

L'Kspion . 

. 18 

Alert . 

. 18 


Weight. Men. 

1 8-poimders .... 350 

. . 9 ditto 200 

. . 9 ditto 200 

And this ostensibly important service, notwithstanding the 
additional fire from three batteries, of what force, however, is 
not stated, was accomplished with so trifling a loss to the British 
as six men wounded. 

We trust we shall not be charged with hypercriticism, if we 
examine a little strictly Sir John Warren's despatch, announcing 
the destruction of these three French ships. The misnomer of 
the frigate is of little consequence. The correction appears in 
Steel. But neither the Felicite nor the Volontaire carried 18- 
pounders ; they were French 36-gun frigates, and mounted, like 
all the others, long 12s, with a crew of 280 or 300 men. It is 
not even quite clear that any French frigate was lost on this 
occasion ; the French accounts, at all events, are silent on this 
subject. Neither of the two corvettes carried " 9-pounder8 :" 
their guns were 6-pounders, and their crews were not *' 200," 
but about 140 men each. The Espion was not " destroyed," but 
was got off, and refitted by the French ; and, to place the matter 
beyond a doubt, this small corvette (she measured only 275 
tons), carrying " eighteen 6-pounders and 140 men," on the 2nd 
of March, 1795, was recaptured by the Lively frigate. Captain 
George Burlton, and afterwards restored to her rank in the 
British navy. There is also some reason to doubt, whether the 
asserted loss of the Alert was not equally a misstatement. 

On the 24th of August the British 74-gun ship Impetueux, 
one of Lord Howe's prizes on the 1st of June, and, with the ex- 
ception of the Sans-Pareil, the finest and most esteemed ship 
among them, caught fire, while lying moored in Portsmouth 
harbour. The flames spread with such rapidity as to threaten 
the destruction of the whole dockyard ; the inhabitants of the 
town were so alarmed at the ship's nearness to the powder 
magazine, that they fled in every direction. The French 
prisoners at Porchester castle, amounting to nearly 5000, evinced 
feelings of quite an opposite kind ; they shouted *' Yive la re- 
publique !" and sang " Ca-ira" and the ** Marsellaise Hymn," all 
the while the flames were raging. To their disappointment, 
however, the proper precautions had been taken, and the Im- 
petueux, after burning to the water's edge, drifted clear of the 
ships in ordinary, and of all other danger, and grounded upon 
the mud on the west side of the harbour. 


On the 21st of October, at daybreak, the British 38-gun 
frigates Arethusa, Captain Sir Edward Pellew, Artois, Captain 
Edmund Nagle, and Diamond, Captain Sir William Sidney 
Smith, and the 18-pounder 32-gun frigate Galatea, Captain 
Eichard Goodwin Keats, while cruising in company, at a dis- 
tance of from eight to ten leagues west of Ushant, discovered a 
frigate under French national colours. Chase was immediately 
given, and the squadron, being to windward, succeeded in 
cutting her off from the land. The superior sailing of the 
Artois enabled that ship, singly, to bring to action the French 
40-gun frigate K<Svolutionnaire, mounting the usual 44 guns of 
her class. Captain Henri- Alexandre Thevenard. The latter de- 
fended herself with great spirit for 40 minutes ; when, the Dia- 
mond having taken a position under her stem, and fired two 
shots as an earnest of what was presently to follow, and the 
t-vYo remaining British frigates being near at hand, the French 
crew refused any longer to defend their ship, which was already 
in a very crippled state from the fire of the Artois ; whose force 
was also 44 guns, including 12 long 9-pounders and four 32- 
pounder carronades upon the quarter-deck and forecastle. The 
colours of the R^volutionnaire were accordingly struck. 

Out of a crew, supposing her complement to have been on 
board, of 281 men and boys, the Artois had one lieutenant of 
marines (Mr. Craigy) and two seamen killed, and five seamen 
wounded. The Rdvolutionnaire, out of a crew, as certified by 
her officers, of 351, lost eight seamen killed, and her commander 
(slightly) and four seamen wounded. 

Comparative Force of the Combatants. 

Broadside-guns | 

















Here, considering the slight inferiority of force on the part 
of the British frigate as meeting a fair selroff in the officially- 
reported fact, that the French frigate had been launched but a 
few weeks, and out of port (Havre-de-Grace) but eight days, 
would have been a well-matched pair of combatants, had the 
Artois been alone ; and the officers and crew of the latter no 
doubt regretted that their friends were near enough to interfere 
with, or even to be spectators of, the engagement. M. Thevenard 
cannot be accused of giving away his ship : he fought her bravely ; 
and the very slight disparity in the loss renders it problematical 


which of the two frigates, had they been wholly by themselves, 
would have carried the day. Opposed, however, by a squadron, 
the contest unavoidably terminated against the French com- 

Shortly after the arrival in port of the Artois and her prize, 
" Captain Nagle," as his biographer tells us,^ ^' for his gallant 
conduct on the occasion, received the honour of knighthood f 
and the first-lieutenant of the Artois, Robert Dudley Oliver, was 
made a commander. 

The R^volutionnaire was decidedly the finest frigate, except 
the Pomone, taken in the preceding April,* which had yet been 
captured from France; and, with that single exception, was 
larger by oO tons than any captured, and by upwards of 140 
tons than any home-built frigate at this time belonging to the 
British navy. On being received into the service, the B^volu- 
tionnaire was registered as a 38, and still continues to be one of 
the most esteemed vessels of her class. 

On the 22nd of October, at 11 a.m., Tsle-Bonde, off the north- 
east extremity of the Isle of France, bearing north-west by west 
nine or ten leagues, the British 50-gun ship Centurion, Captain 
Samuel Osborne, and 44-gun ship Diomede, Captain Matthew 
Smith, descried and gave chase to four strange sail in the west, 
steering to the northward with the wind easterly. These proved 
to be a French squadron, composed of the 40-jiun frigate Cybele, 
36-gun frigate Prudente, 20-gun corvette Jean-Bart, and 14-gun 
brig-corvette Courier, under the orders of Commodore Jean- 
Marie Eenaud, in the Prudente. 

This officer, having put to sea from Port-Louis purposely, as 
was stated, to fight the two British ships, of whose names as 
well as force he was already apprised, suffered no long chase 
ere he hove to in line ahead ; his own ship, the Prudente, leading, 
followed, at little more than a cable's length, by the Cybele, 
Jean-Bart, and Courier. The British ships now edged down to 
take their stations ; the Centurion placing herself abreast of the 
two firigates, with the greater part of her broadside bearing on 
the Prudente, while the Diomede took a similar position between 
the Cybele and Jean-Bart, directing her chief attention to the 

At 3 h. 29 m. p.m. the French commodore, having hoisted his 
broad pendant, and all his ships their colours, opened a fire 
within half musket-shot ; and the cannonade presently became 
generaL Having, from her close position, bore the brunt of this 

1 Marshall, vol. L, p. 277. * See p. 226. 


firing, the Centurion soon became very much damaged in ker 
sails and rigging; whereupon the Frudente, at 4 p.m., with 
every spar standing, and with her sails and rigging not materi- 
ally injured, bore up and ran to leeward out of gun-shot, signaling 
her comrades to do the same. According to the French com- 
modore's account, this was, in order that the squadron might 
repair damages and be able to obtain the weathergage, an excuse, 
a contradiction in itself, for had his object been that which is 
stated, he would have fore-reached upon the disabled Centurion 
and then tacked ; it certainly is something new in naval tactics, 
to bear up in order to get to windward. 

The Cybele made sail ahead, and, firing at the Centurion in 
passing, brought down the latter^s mizentopmast and foretop- 
gallantmast ; but, being herself much cut up in sails and rigging, 
and being also retarded in her flight by the calm that, as usual, 
had succeeded the heavy firing, was compelled to sustain an 
action, broadside to broadside, with the British 50. The Diomede, 
whose signal to carry all possible sail was about this time ordered 
to be made, but the flags for which ** could not be found," lay 
at some distance to windward, firing occasionally at the Cybele, 
as well as at the Jean-Bart and Courier; but these ships, in 
obedience to their commodore's signal, soon bore up and joined 
the Prudente. 

The Centurion and Cybele continued closely engaged ; and at 
about 5 h. 15 m. p.m., the latter^s maintopgallantmast was shot 
away. Just at this moment a light air sprang up, and the 
Cybele, taking advantage of it, edged down towards the Pru- 
dente ; who, with the corvette and brig, had wore, and was fast 
approaching to her support. At 5 h. 45 m. p.m., just before she 
joined the Prudente, the Cybele*s wounded foretopmast fell. 
Both the Diomede and Centurion had wore in pursuit ; but the 
latter had suffered so much in her masts, that Captain Osborne 
was compelled to put her head to the sea, to prevent them from 
falling overboard. 

The Prudente, as soon as the Cybele joined, took her in tow ; 
and all four vessels, carrying as much sail as they could set, 
steered to the westward, followed and fired at, until dark, by 
the Diomede ; whose shot, however, in reference to any visible 
effect produced by them, appear to have fallen short. 

The Centurion lost three seamen killed, or mortally wounded, 
the gunner and six seamen severely, and 17 seamen slightly 
wounded. The Diomede does not appear to have sustained any 
loss. The Prudente lost 15 men killed, and 20 wounded ; the 


commodore among the latter, and his first and second lieutenants 
among the former. The Cybele lost her firslrlieutenant and 21 
petty ofiicers and seamen killed, and 62 wounded, 37 of them 
dangerously. The Jean-Bart had one man killed, and five men 
wounded. The Courier appears to have shared the good fortune 
of the Diomede. 

In reviewing the conduct of this action, we might be disposed 
to blame the Prudente for having prudently withdrawn herself 
so early from the battle, were we not afraid that the French 
would retort, by referring us to that ship's return of loss ; espe- 
cially as contrasted with the entire state of impunity with which 
the Diomede had escaped. The backwardness to close and 
support her consort, so evident on the part of the latter, has 
been attributed to private pique and jealousy, and not to any 
want of courage, on the part of her commander. This feeling, 
in the breast of an ofiicer towards his superior, is at all times 
reprehensible, and, in the present instance, appears to have been 
the principal reason that the Cybele, at least, was not made a 
prize of by the British. 

Captain Smith was afterwards brought to a court-martial for 
his conduct in this action, and broke ; but, owing to an infor- 
mality in the proceedings, or some other cause, was merely 
placed on the list of retired post-captains. Thus stands the 
statement in the first edition of this work. We now subjoin 
another account from the work of a contemporary. ** The 
report made by Captain Osborne of the Centurion, of the action 
with the French squadron, in the preceding year, not being 
satisfactory to Captain Smith, he applied to that officer for an 
explanation. Captain Osborne, after more distinctly expressing 
his approbation of Captain Smith's conduct than he had done in 
his public letter, thought fit to demand a court-martial for inquir- 
ing into the conduct of the two ships, with a view of justifying 
his letter on service. The court sentenced Captain Smith to be 
dismissed the service ; but, on his return to England in 1798, he 
appealed against their verdict ; and his memorial being referred 
to the crown lawyers and the admiralty counsel, they reported 
their opinion that the sentence was unwarrantable, and not to 
be supported. Captain Smith was consequently restored to 
his rank in the navy, but never afterwards called into 
service." * 

A writer in the " Victoireset Conqu^tes," not satisfied with 
the share of credit gained on his side by this action, on the 

1 Marshall, voL iii., p. 75. 




other, declares that the Centurion and Diomede were "two 
ships of the line," "deux vaisseaux de ligne,"* leaving the 
French reader to fancy them first, second, or third rates, as the 
temperature of his patriotism, and the caliber of his credulity, 
may incline him. This caterer of " victories," regardless, also, 
of the account in his own newspaper, the Moniteur, substitutes 
the Courier for the Jean-Bart, and then assures his countrymen 
that two French frigates and a brig compelled two English 
*'line-of-battle ships" to raise the blockade of a French colonial 
port ; thereby enabling the French privateers to enter with their 
prizes, and to sail forth again when ready, in order to commit 
fresh depredations upon the eastern ^commerce. The departure 
of the British commodore to get his ship refitted renders the 
latter part of this statement probable enough ; but the French 
are too politic to charge to the neglect or omission of an enemy 
that which, by a little skilful penmanship, they can make appear 
to have arisen from the bravery or good conduct of themselves. 

Colonial Expeditions, — West Indies. 

North America aff'ording, this year, no occurrences of a nature 
to be noticed in these pages, we pass at once to the West Indies, 
where plans of magnitude and importance were on the eve of 
being brought into activity. In the latter end of January Vice- 
admiral Sir John Jervis, K.B.,^ in the Boyne, arrived at Bar- 

1 VictoiresetConqugtes.tome v.,p.2ir6. 

2 Invested with this honour, May 29, 
1782, for having, says the author of the 
" Royal Naval Biography," fought one of 
the most brilliant actions which had oc- 
curred during the American war, namely, 
the capture of the P^gase, of 74 guns and 
700 men, commanded by the Chevalier de 
Cillart. A part, and no inconsiderable 
part, of the plan of this work being to free 
historical statements from the dross of 
fiction, we may be allowed to step back a 
little, for the purpose of reducing Mr. 
Marshall's high-flown biographical, into 
plain matter-of-fact language. In April, 
1782, the Foudroyant, a ship (formerly 
French) mounting 80 guns, 24-pounders on 
the main deck, manned with 700 men, and 
justly pronounced to be *' one of the finest 
two-decked ships belonging to the Britisa 
navy," was commanded by Captain John 
Jervis, and formed one of a fleet of 12 sail 
of the line and four frigates, under Vice- 
admiral Barrington, cruising m the Bay 
of Biscay. On the 20th, off Ushant, a fleet 
was discovered, consisting of an outward- 
bound East India convoy of 14 vessels, 
which had sailed from Brest the day before, 
under the protection of the two French 

74-gun ships, Protecteur, Captain le Comte 
de Soulanges, and P^gase, Captain de 
Si Hans, a frigate, and a 64 en fidte ; and 
the vessels of which convoy, on discover- 
ing their danger, dispersed. The Fou- 
droyant's superiority of sailing soon gave 
her the lead in the chase of one of the 
French 74 s, the P^gase; and at dark the 
British 80 lost sight of her own fleet. At 
a little before 1 a.m. on the 21st the Fou- 
droyant ran alongside of the Pdgase, and, 
after an hour's fierce action, in which the 
latter had 80 men killed and wounded, 
and the Foudroyant none killed and very 
few wounded, the French ship hauled down 
her colours. " At this time," says Mr. M., 
" the sea was so rough, that it was with 
great difficulty Captain Jervis, with the 
loss of two boats, could put an officer and 
80 men on board the prize. Soon after 
this was eff"ected, the Foudroyant h>8t 
sight of the Pdgase ; but the Queen, for- 
tunately coming up, took possession of her. 
In consequence of this gallant action. 
Captain Jervis was honoured with the 
insignia of a Icnight of the bath." — Mar^ 
shall, vol. i., p. 16. 

The writer of this article admits that 
the action lasted an hour at close quarters, 




badoes, as the naval eommandeiviii-chief on the station, accom- 
panied by Lieutenant-general Sir Charles Grey, as commander 
of* the troops, about 7000 in nnmber (just half the number stated 
by the French writers), destined to act against the enemy's 
colonies. On the 2nd of February the expedition, with all the 
effectiye troops on board, amounting to less than 6100 men, 
sailed from Bridgetown, bound to Martinique, and on the 5th, 
when it arrived off the island, consisted of the following vessels 
of war : — • 

98 Boyne 


(Vengeance . 

^ \ Veteran . 



(Vice-admiral (b.) Sir John Jervis, K.B. 
Captain Gewge Grey. 
{Commodore Charles Thompson. 
Captain Lord Henry Paulet. 
John Henry. 
John Brown. 
Charles Edmund Nugent. 

Frigates, Beaulieu, Santa- Mai^arita, Blonde, fcJolebay, Quebec, Ceres, Win- 
chelsea, and Rose. 

Sloops, Nautilus, Rattlesnake, Zebra, and Avenger ; bomb, Vesuvius. 
Store-ships, Dromedary and Woolwich. 

General Kochambeau was still governor of Martinique, and 
at the head of a force, if the French accounts are to be credited 
(and the small number of troops that ultimately surrendered 
rather confirms the statement), of no more than 600 men, of 
whom 400 were militia* Whatever may have been the defi- 
ciency of troops for its defence, the island possessed many 
commanding positions and formidable batteries, upon which 
were mounted, according to the French accounts, as many as 
00 pieces of cannon. The only ships of war at Martinique, 
except perhaps a privateer or two, were the French 28-gun 

and yet is surpTised that the P^gase, " con- 
sidering the short time she was engaged," 
should have suffered so ]mach. He adds t 
"Nothing could have afforded a more 
remarkable instance of the decided supe- 
riority of seamanship and discipline on the 
one side, and of the great effects which 
those qualifications produced on the other, 
than the circumstance of this gallant 
action." Does the writer, who avows 
himself a naval man, make no allowance 
for the difference in size and force between 
the two ships, one of which, as measuring 
1977 tons, must have felt rather less in- 
convenience in action &om the "rough 
sea," than the other, that was of no more 
than 1778 tons? Even had the Foudroy- 
ant been a 74 like the P^gase, the former, 
to use the words of her own captain, when 

on a subsequent occasion he gave an 
opinion upon the merits of the action 
between the Mars and Hercule, was, " an 
old commissioned, well-practised ship," 
with a crew inured to battle (the Fou- 
droyant was Admiral Keppel's second in 
the action with M. d'Orvilliers, fought 
July 27, 1778) ; while the P^ase was just 
out of port, with her decks, as is too fire- 
(^ently the case with French ships, lum- 
bered with stores for her long voyage. As 
M. de Sillans (not "Cillart") was evidently 
not un "chevalier" at the time of his cap- 
ture by the Foudroyant, he probably was 
raised to that honour for his gallant defence 
of the Pdgase. 

1 Victoires et ConquStes, tome 111., p. 


frigate (mounting 30 or 32 guns) Bienvenue at Fort Eoyal, and 
an 18-gun corvette at St. Pierre. As the proceedings of the 
troops on each side properly belong to military history, and 
moreover, as the accounts cannot be rendered very intelligible 
without the aid of a map, we shall merely give a general sketch 
of the operations that led to the surrender of this important 

For the purpose of dividing the force and attention of the 
enemy, the British troops were disembarked at three points, 
considerably distant from each other. The respective divisions, 
whose routes had been ably chosen, bore down all opposition ; 
and, by the 16th of March, the whole island, except the forts 
Bourbon and Eoyal, was in the possession of the British. This 
was not effected, however, without a loss of 71 killed, 193 
wounded, and three missing. The seamen of the fleet, employed 
on shore, exerted themselves with their usual promptitude and 
success, dragging the cannon and mortars for several miles, to 
heights that appeared almost impossible to reach ; and a division 
of 200, armed with pikes and pistols, and headed by Lieutenants 
Thomas Bogers and William Gordon Rutherford, bore an un- 
equalled part in storming the important post of Monte 

Another detachment of about 300 seamen, with a small party 
of marines, was landed, under the command of Captain Eliab 
Harvey, of the Santa-Margarita, assisted by Captain William 
Hancock Kelly of the Solebay, and Lord Grarlies of the Quebec, 
and by Lieutenants Isaac Wolley, Joshua Bowley Watson, 
Thomas Harrison, James Carthew, Alexander Wilmot Schom- 
berg, and John W. Taylor Dixon ; also Lieutenant Walter Tre- 
menhere of the marines. This detachment, having in charge a 
24-pounder gun and two mortars, began its march from the 
wharf in the Cul de sac Cohee towards the heights of Sourri^re, 
a distance of five miles, and near to which Lieutenant-general 
Sir Charles Grey had established his head-quarters. 

After cutting a road, nearly a mile in length, through a thick 
wood, making a passage across a river by filling it up with large 
stones and branches and trees, and levelling the banks of another 
river by the removal of immense fragments of rocks, this per- 
severing party, before the night of the third day, to the as- 
tonishment of the whole army, got the 24-pounder on the heights 
of Sourriere, and the two mortars to the foot of the hill, from 
which the summit was about a mile distant. On the following 
day the howitzers and two additional 24-pounders were got to 

VOL. I. s 


their places on the top of the hill ; and this although the ascent 
was so steep that a loiuied mule could not walk up in a direct 

On the 17th, at daybreak, a battery which had been erected 
on Pointe Cfiuriere, forming the east side of the car^nage, and 
some gun-boats, commanded, along with the guard-boats of the 
squadion, by Lieutenant Richard Bowen, of the Boyne, opened 
a fire upon Fort St. Louis : as did, at the same time, upon Fort 
Bourbon, the gun and mortar batteries recently erected on the 
heights of Sourri6re ; and which latter were most ably and ef- 
fectively served by the seamen who, as we have seen, had 
laboured so hard in getting the guns to that position. 

Perceiving a favourable moment. Lieutenant Bowen, with the 
rowing-boats only, pushed into the carcnage, to attack the 
Bienvenue frigate, lying chain-moored within 50 yards of the 
shore, for the laudable purpose of rescuing a number of English 
prisoners supposed to be on board of her. The time was broad 
noon ; and as soon as the British boats were seen entering the 
carcnage, the walls of Fort liouis were covered with troops, who 
kept up an incessant fire of musketry upon the assailants ; as did 
also the frigate, together with grape-shot from her great guns. 
In the face of all this. Lieutenant Bowen and his party dashed 
alongside the frigate, and boarded her with little opposition, 
the greater part of the crew having fled to the shore just as the 
British approached. 

The French captain, one lieutenant, and 20 men were found 
in the Bienvenue, but no prisoners : these, it was now understood, 
were on board another vessel higher up the harbour. The wind 
blowing directly in, the frigate's sails being unbent, and the in- 
cessant fire still kept up from the forts, and to which the British 
were unable to bestow an adequate return from the frigate's 
8-pounders, rendering it impracticable to send men aloft to bring 
the sails to the yards. Lieutenant Bowen was constrained to de- 
part with his 22 prisoners, and leave his principal trophy behind. 
Considerable risk attended the return of the boats ; but, at 
length, this intrepid young officer got clear, not, however, 
without a loss of three men killed, and four or five wounded. 

The success of Lieutenant Bo wen's attack upon the Bienvenue 
led to an immediate assault upon the town of Fort Eoyal. A 
number of scaling-ladders were made of long bamboos connected 
with strong line, and the Asia 64 and Zebra sloop, the latter 
commanded by Captain Robert Faulknor, were ordered to hold 
themselves in readiness to enter the carcnage, for the purpose of 


battering the lower and more exposed part of Fort Louis, the 
walls of which were not high ; also of covering the flat boats, 
barges, and pinnaces sent in under the direction of Commodore 
Thompson, and commanded by Captains Nugent of the Veteran, 
and Edward Kiou of the Rose. Meanwhile, a detachment of 
the army was to advance, with field-pieces, along the side of the 
hiU under Fort Bourbon, towards the bridge over the canal at 
the back of Fort Royal town. 

On the 20th this plan of attack was put into execution, and 
succeeded in every point, except that the Asia was unable to 
get into her station, owing to the misconduct of M. de Tourelles, 
the former lieutenant of the port ; and who, after having under- 
taken to pilot the ship in, refused to do so, from an alleged 
dread of shoals, but probably from a real dread of what he 
might justly expect, should any unforeseen event place him in 
the hands of General Roehambeau. Observing the Asia 
baffled in her attempt. Captain Faulknor dashed singly on ; and, 
running the Zebra, in defiance of the showers of grape that 
poured upon her, close to the wall of the fort, " leaped over- 
board," says Sir John Jervis in his despatch, " at the head of his 
sloop's company, and assailed and took this important post be- 
fore the boats could get on shore, although rowed with all the 
force and animation which characterize English seamen in the 
face of an enemy." This, however, was not strictly the case. 
The boats, already mentioned as commanded by Cai)tains 
Nugent and Riou, and which boats contained as many as 1200 
men, pushed across the carenage before the Zebra could get in, 
and stormed and took possession of Fort Royal. Captain 
Nugent, with the Veteran's people, hauled down the French 
colours, and hoisted the English in their stead. Even the 
admiral himself appears to have been subsequently aware that 
this was the case, as he appointed Captain Nugent, by the con- 
sent of the general, to the command of the captured fort. 

Before we proceed ftirther in the narrative, justice to the 
memory of a slandered British officer requires that we should 
do our best to refute a statement which appears in the work of a 
contemporary. "As soon as the Asia," says Captain Brenton, 
" was within reach of grape, she put her helm up and came out. 
The vice-admiral, supposing that Captain Brown was killed, or 
that some very serious accident had happened, sent Captain 
Grey to ascertain the cause of this extraordinary proceeding. 
Captain Grey returned and informed the admiral that not a man 
was hurt on board the Asia, and she again stood in, and again 




oame out. This unusual act of a firitish ship of war was at- 
tributed to the pilot, and, beinj^ admitted, was no palliation, since 
the ship had actually got within reach of grape, whence her 
lower deck guns must quickly have driven the enemy from the 
fort. It was the duty of the captain to have anchored, and to 
have remained there tiU the service was completed, or until re- 
called by his superior officer, who was present."^ The besfc 
answer that can be given to the above statement is an extract 
from the public letter of Sir John Jervis himself. " This com- 
bination," says the vice-admiral, "succeeded in every part, 
except the entrance of the Asia, which failed for the want of 
precision in the ancient lieutenant of the port, Monsieur de 
Tourelles, who had undertaken to pilot the Asia.*' As a further 
proof of the vice-admiral's opinion of the conduct of the captain 
of the Asia in this attack, " Captain Brown," is the first in the 
list of officers, to whom Sir John, at the end of the same public 
letter, declares that he is " greatly indebted." 

The unparalleled exploit of Captain Faulknor produced an 
immediate effect upon M. Eochambeau at Fort Bourbon, and 
he requested that commissioners might be appointed to discuss 
the terms of surrender. These were presently arranged ; and, on 
the 22nd, the British colours were hoisted on Fort Bourbon, the 
name of which was changed to Fort George, and that of Foi-t 
Louis to Fort Edward. 

The gallant defence made by General Eochambeau and his 
garrison, amounting at first, as the British were led to believe, 
to 1200 men, but, as the French themselves say, to only half 
that number, ami reduced at the surrender to about 200 men, 
including the wounded, was strongly manifested on entering the 
fort, there being scarcely an inch of ground untouched by the 
shot and shells of the British.^ 

The loss of the latter, between the 16th and 21st, was, on the 
part of the army, three rank and file killed, and one captain, 11 
rank and file wounded ; on that of the navy, one captain (James 
Milne, of the Avenger) and 13 seamen killed, and one captam 
(Sandford Tatham, of the Dromedary), two lieutenants (Thomas 

^ Brenton, vol. ii., p. 23. 

* In hisdetaiUof the military operations 
at this idland, Captain Brenton (vol. ill. p. 
19) says: "General Bellegarde moved his 
whole force upon our position at Coh^e, 
but Sir Charles Grey, perceiving his design, 
attacked him with great fury and com- 
pelled him to retreat." Who the " gene- 
ral" was, and of what description his 
" whole force," may be pretty well imar 

gined from the following account of both : 
"Un colon nommd Bellegarde, a la t6te 
d'un corp.<t de chasseurs volontaires, apr^ 
plusieurs actes de Iftchet^, flnic par trabir 
ses concitoyens, en les menant aux Anglais, 
sous la pr^texte de fiiire une sortie. Ce 
f^lon passa ensuite k I'Amdrique septen- 
trionale, sur un b&Ument Anglais." — Vie- 
tories et Conquites, tome ill., p. 251. 


Henry Wilson and Thomas Clarke), one surgeon, and 24 
seamen wounded. The Bienvenne was added to the navy, upon 
the establishment of a 28-gun frigate, by the (as significant of 
the manner in which she had been attacked and carried) very 
appropriate name of Undaunted; and Captain Faulkner, by 
whom she had been so gallantly won, was appointed to the com- 
mand of her : Lieutenant Bo wen, also, as no less justly his due, 
was made a commander into the Zeln-a. 

Martinique being reduced, the forts garrisoned with British, 
under the command of Lieutenant-general Prescott, who was 
appointed governor of the island, and a small squadron, under 
Commodore Thompson, being left to co-operate, if necessary, in 
its defence, a detachment of troops was embarked at Fort Royal 
bay, on the 31st, to attack the island of Sainte Lucie. On the 
next day, the Ist of April, the ships of war and transports 
arrived there ; and, on the same evening, the troops were landed 
at three different points, with little resistance and no loss. The 
same good fortune had attended the ,ships in their passage along 
the shore, although compelled to pass within gunshot of the 
numerous batteries that lined it. Their hulls, masts, yards, sails, 
and rigging, received many shots ; but, crowded as they were 
with troops and seamen, yet not a man on board was hurt. 
Between the 1st and 3rd of April the troops assaulted and 
carried the enemy's outposts ; and, on the 4th, General Ricard, 
commanding the works on Mome Fortun^e, surrendered on 
terms of capitulation. 

Thus did Great Britain become possessed of a valuable sugar- 
island, without the loss, on her part, of a single life ; and with 
no greater loss, on the part of the enemy, than two officers and 
about 30 men, killed at the storming of a redoubt. The garrison 
of this redoubt consisted but of 33 men: consequently one 
prisoner only was taken ; and how he happened to escape the 
customary massacre on such occasions is not stated in the 
gazette account. Colonel Eyre Coote appears to have been the 
commanding officer of the storming party. A garrison being left 
at Sainte Lucie, under the command of Colonel Sir Charles 
Gordon, the remainder of the troops returned on the 5th to 
Martinique. The two following days were occupied in shifting 
the troops, and making arrangements; and, on the 8th, Sir 
John Jervis, in the Boyne, with two other ships of the line, 
besides frigates and the necessary transports, set sail for the 
reduction of Guadeloupe. 

On the 10th the ships of war and a few of the transports 


anchored in G osier bay in that island ; but the remainder, being 
driven to leeward by the strong wind and lee current, did not all 
arrive before the 12th. On the 11th, at 1 a.m., a part of the 
troops that had then arrived, and a detachment of seamen and 
marines, effected their landing in the Anse de Gosier, under cover 
of the 32-gun frigate Winchelsea : whose commander. Lord Gar- 
lies, placed his ship within half musket-shot of the batteries, 
and, by her well-directed fire, soon silenced the enemy's guns, 
(hi this occasion, Lord Garlics was the only person wounded, 
and that by a bad contusion. On the 12th, early in the mom* 
ing, the strong post of Fleur-d'Ep^ was stormed by a detach- 
ment of the army, composed of the first and second battalions of 
light infantry, under Major-general Dundas, assisted by a de- 
tachment of seamen, commanded by Captain Eobert Faulkner. 
The seamen had been directed to use their pikes and swords 
only, and the soldiers their bayonets. The side of the mountain 
which the seamen had to ascend, under a tremendous fire of 
grape-shot and musketry, was almost perpendicular : they, how- 
ever, surmounted every difficulty, gained the parapet, dashed 
into the fort, and fought their way to the gates. Here the 
seamen joined the military ; and their imited efforts, although 
opposed in the most gallant manner, carried the post. In this 
desperate service the seamen are represented to have borne a 
conspicuous part. Fort Saint Louis, the town of Pointe-h-Pitre, 
and the new battery upon Islot-k-Cochon, were soon afterwards 
abandoned, and many of the inhabitants escaped in boats to 

This completed the conquest of Grande-terre, The loss sus- 
tained by the British was, on the part of the army, 16 rank and 
file killed, two captains, three lieutenants, one sergeant, and 39 
rank and file wounded, and two rank and file missing ; and, on 
the part of the navy, two midshipmen and 11 seamen wounded. 
The enemy lost, in defending Fleur-d'Epee, 67 killed, 65 
wounded, and 110 prisoners. We should hope, and we rather 
think, that nearly the whole of this heavy loss was sustained 
previously to its surrender ; and that, therefore, the statement 
of a contemporary, that " most of the garrison of Fleur-d*Epee 
were put to the sword,"* is incorrect. 

Previously to his quitting Martinique, the vice-admiral had 
detached Captain Josias Eogers, with the 32-gun frigates 
Quebec and Ceres, the latter commanded by Captain Bichard 
Inoledon, 28-gun frigate Kose, Captain Matthew Henry Soott, 

I Brenton, vol. ii., p. 26. 


and a Bleep of war, to attack the three small islands adjacent 
to Guadeloupe, called the Saintes. They were carried on the 
morning of the 10th, without the slightest loss, by a party of 
seamen and marines disembarked from those ships. 

The 43rd regiment being leffc to garrison Fort Fleur-d'Ep^e ' 
(its new name, Prince of Wales, was, as we shall presently see, 
retained for so short a time, that it will be unnecessary to use it), 
the town of Pointe-k-Pitre, and other neighbouring posts, the 
remainder of the troops, on the 14th, quitted Grande-terre, in 
transports ; and, dropping down opposite to Petit-Bourg on 
Basse-terre, landed there, on the same afternoon, without oppo- 
sition. On the 20th, after two or three batteries, including the 
famous post of Palmiste, had been carried, with some resistance, 
and no great loss, General Collot, commanding at Fort Saint- 
Charles, capitulated on honourable terms ; surrendering to 
Great Britain Guadeloupe, and all its dependencies, compre- 
hending the Islands of Marie-Galante, Desirade, and the Saintes. 

The loss on the part of the British amounted to two rank and 
file killed, four rank and file wounded, and five missing. The 
loss of the republicans is not stated ; but, according to a return 
found among General Collet's papers, the number of men ca- 
pable of bearing arms in Guadeloupe, was 5877, and the number 
of fire-arms actually delivered out to them, 4044. The number 
of pieces of cannon upon the different batteries in Basse-terre 
amounted, including fifty-eight 24, and thirty-five 18 pounders 
and 15 heavy mortars, to 182. A French 16-gun brig-corvette, 
the Guadeloupe, was captured in the road of Bailiff, but was 
not deemed fit for the service. Having placed Major-general 
Dundas in the command of Guadeloupe, with what was con- 
sidered to be a sufficient garrison, Sir Charles Grey quitted the 
island, in company vrith the admiral and squadron. 

Matters remained in the same state until the morning of 
the 3rd of June ; when a squadron of nine ships, bearing the 
national colours of France, was seen off the town of Saint 
Francois, passing along the coast towards Pointe-a-Pitre. At 
4 P.M. the French squadron, consisting of two frigates (probably 
the Thetis and Pique), one corvette, two large ships armed en 
fiiite, and five transports, and which appear to have stolen out 
of Lorient or Rochefort about the middle or latter end of April, 
anchored off the village of Gosier, and commenced disembark- 
ing troops, at the head of which was the famous, or rather in- 
fttmous, Victor Hugues, with the title of civil commissary, 
*< commissaire civil," having, as his colleagues, Chretien (died 


soon after he landed) and Lelsas. On the sajne evening, and 
on the following day, the 11th, the republican troops, impatient 
to gratify their chiefs taste, employed themselves in burning and 
pillaging some estates near €k>sier. The delay occasioned by 
this species of amusement enabled Lieutenant-colonel Drum- 
mond, commanding at Fleur-d'Ep^e, to assemble within the 
fort 310 officers and men, consisting of 180 French royalists, 
and 130 of the 43rd regiment and Boyal Irish artillery. The 
enemy's force being estimated at no more than 300 men, and 
they fatigued with their voyage and subsequent excesses. 
Colonel Drummond assented to the repeated solicitations of the 
royalists to be permitted to attack them. 

Accordingly, at 8 p.m., 180 royalists, with Captain M*Dowall 
of the 43rd at their head, marched from the fort on this service. 
While proceeding along the road leading to Gosier, a few shots 
were fired, probably from a piquet of the enemy : instantly the 
most shameful panic prevailed throughout the royalist party. 
A general discharge of musketry took place. Many of the 
men threw away their arms and deserted ; and about 30 re- 
turned to the fort with Captain M'Dowall. Three of the royaUsts 
were killed, and four wounded on this unfortunate occasion. 

On the 6th, at 1 a.m., the republicans, amounting, as was 
supposed, to between 1200 and 1500 men, commenced their 
march against the fort of Fleui^d'Epee, now garrisoned with 
about 160 men. These made a resolute defence, but, being at 
length overpowered, were obliged to retreat, with the loss of 
one lieutenant, one ensign, four sergeants, and 48 rank and 
file missing, including several killed and wounded. Finding 
on his arrival at the next post, Fort Saint Louis, that he could 
muster only 40 men, Colonel Drummond collected the detach- 
ment (33 in number) that was at Fort Government, and em- 
barked at Petit-Canal, in two boats, for Grando-^erre ; which 
place, on the morning of the 10th, the colonel and his men 
reached in safety. Besides the missing at Fort Fleur-d'Ep^, 
(som^ of whom had since escaped and joined the colonel), there 
were left sick at Pointe-k-Pitre, one captain, one ensign, seven 
sergeants, and 94 rank and file. 

On the 5th, early in the morning, the arrival of the French 
squadron became known to the British admiral, who, with the 
Boyne, Veteran, Winchelsea, and Nautilus, was then at the 
island of St. Christopher ; and who did not lose a moment in 
forwarding reinforcements. On the same afternoon Sir John 
Jervis, with the Boyne, having on board Sir Charles Grey, and 


Veteran, made sail for Guadelonpe, having previously despatched 
the Winchelsea to Antigua, and the Nautilus to Martinique, to 
collect troops. 

On the 7th, in the afternoon, the admiral and general arrived 
off Guadeloupe, and were there joined by commodore Thomp- 
son's two 74s, the Vanguard and Vengeance: the first, com- 
manded by Captain Charles Sawyer, had recently joined, in lien 
of the Irresistible, sent down to Jamaica, and now bore the 
commodore's pendant. Sir Charles Grey immediately landed 
at Basse-terre ; while Sir John Jervis, with the Boyne, A^an- 
guard, Vengeance, and Veteran, proceeded direct to Pointe-k- 
Pitre. On the 8th, at noon, the vice-admiral anchored off the 
harbour, and discovered the French squadron moored within 
the carenage. It was not until the morning of the 19th, that 
a sufficient number of troops was assembled, to attempt a re- 
capture of Grande-terre. Early on that morning, a landing was 
effected, under cover of the 32-gun frigates, Solebay and Win- 
chelsea, without loss or opposition, at Anse-k-Canot. On the 
same afternoon the troops, joined by two battalions of seamen 
under the command of Captain Lewis Kobertson of the Veteran, 
and Captain Charles Sawyer, of the Vanguard, took possession 
of the village of Gosier. 

From the 25th to the end of June, several skirmishes oc- 
curred between the republicans and British ; ending with much 
loss and some credit to each, but with no solid advantage to 
either. On the morning of the 2nd of July an unsuccessful at- 
tempt was made upon the town of Pointe-k-Pitre ; the failure of 
which led to the abandonment of an intended assault upon the 
post of Fleur-d'Epee, and to a withdrawal, on the 3rd, of the 
British forces from Grande-terre. 

The British loss, between the 10th of June, and 3rd of July, 
amounted, on the part of the army, to one lieutenant-colonel, 
four captains, seven lieutenants, and 93 non-commissioned officers 
and privates killed, on6 major, three captains, seven lieutenants, 
and 319 non-commissioned officers and privates wounded, and 
56 non-commissioned officers and privates missing ; total, 105 
killed, 3i30 wounded, and 56 missing. On the part of the navy, 
the loss was, one captain (Lewis Robertson of the A^'eteran), 
four seamen, and two private marines killed, one lieutenant 
(Isaac Wolley), one lieutenant of marines (John Mercer), 24 
seamen, and three private marines wounded, and 16 Iseamen 
missing ; total, seven killed, 29 wounded, and 16 missing. 

The Frenoh troops remained in quietness at Grande-terre until 
the 27th of September ; when, having received from France, by 


means of some frigates whose names we are nnable to give, a 
considerable reinforcement, they proceeded to Basse-terre, land* 
ing at Goyanne and Lamentin. From these points, the French 
immediately marched to the attack of the British camp at 
Berville, commanded by Brigadier-general Graham. The latter 
defended his position until the 6th of October; when, finding 
his provisions nearly exhausted, his communication with the 
shipping cut off, his hopes of relief at an end, and his effective 
force reduced to 125 rank and file, he surrendered to the 
French commander, or commissary, Victor Hugues, on honour- 
able terms. The British, during the siege, had sustained a loss, 
as far as could be ascertained, of two officers, and 25 non-com- 
missioned officers and privates killed, and five officers and 51 
non-commissioned officers and privates wounded ; total, 27 
killed and 56 wounded. Thus were the French again masters 
of the whole island of Guadeloupe, except Fort Matilda. 

Against this post, which was commanded by Lieutenant- 
general Prescott, and was extremely weak both in point of posi- 
tion and masonry, the republican forces commenced operations on 
the 14th of October. It took them until t|ie 10th of December 
to render the works completely untenable ; and at 10 p. m. the 
garrison, amounting to 621 officers and men, under the judicious 
maiiagement of Captain Kichard Bowen, recently promoted to 
the Terpsichore frigate, got safe off, without even the knowledge 
of the French commander, who continued firing at the fort until 
3 A.M. on the 11th. 

The British loss, between the 14th of October and 10th of 
December, was, to the army, 13 killed and 60 wounded, and, 
to the navy, three killed and 18 wounded ; including, among 
the badly wounded of the latter, Captain Bowen, who was un- 
fortunately struck by a musket-ball in the face, while bringing 
off, in his own boat, the last man of the garrison. The behaviour 
of this officer, as well during the two months' siege as at the 
time of embarkation, gave such entire satisfaction to General 
Prescott, that the latter addressed a letter to Vice-admiral 
Caldwell (the successor of Sir John Jervis, who had sailed for 
England in November), expressly to acquaint him with the 
essential benefit which the garrison of Fort Matilda had de* 
rived from the zeal, vigilance, and great professional experience 
of Captain Bowen. 

At the close of the preceding year we left Commodore Ford, 
in the 50-gun ship Europa, with a few frigates and sloops, and 
a detachment of British troops under Lieutenant-colonel Dansey, 
in possession of J^r^mie, Cape Nicolas-Mole, the province o 


Leogane on the south side of the island, and several small places, 
including Boncassin on the north side.^ 

The newly surrendered post of Boncassin being within 12 or 
14 miles of Port-au-Prince, and the Spaniards, from their side 
of the island, having taken possession of Borgue, Gonaives, 
Petite-Riviere, and Verette, Commodore Ford, on the 2nd of 
January, detached the 32-gun frigate Penelope, Captain Bar* 
tholomew Samuel Rowley, with a flag of truce, to Port-au- 
Prince ; offering to the civil commissary, Santhonax, the same 
capitulation which had been voluntarily accepted by so many of 
the parishes. The offer was refused ; and the port in conse- 
quence was closely blockaded by some ships of the commodore's 

On the 2nd of February, the strong and highly important post 
at Cape Tiburon, mounting 22 pieces of heavy cannon, was taken 
by the British, after a slight resistance, and the loss of three pri- 
vates killed, and one captain, one lieutenant, and nine non-com- 
missioned officers and privates wounded. On the 18th the post 
of Aoul, about bIx miles from Leogane, was also attacked, and 
after a sharp resistance carried, with the loss of one captain and 
four privates killed, and one captain, four lieutenants, and 27 
non-commissioned officers and privates wounded. 

On the 31st of May, early in the morning, an expedition, com- 
posed of the 74-gun ship Irresistible. Captain James Richard 
Dacres, 64s Belliqueux and Sceptre, Captains Richard Dacres 
and Augustus Brine, 50-gmi ship Europa, Captain Gregory, 
three frigates, and three sloops, the whole under the command 
of Commodore Ford, whose pendant was still flying on board 
the Europa, and of 1465 effective troops, commanded by Briga- 
dier-general White, which had sailed from Cape Nicolas-Mole, 
arrived in the bay of Port-au-Prince. An officer with a flag of 
truce was sent in, but was not allowed to land. 

The possession of Fort Brissoton being an object of the first 
consideration, the Belliqueux and Sceptre, on the 1st of June, 
at 11 h. 30 m. a.m., by signal from the Europa, got under way, 
and placed themselves, with, the utmost precision, against the 
fort ; as did also the Penelope, so as to flank a ravine to the east- 
ward. All three ships then commenced a well-directed and very 
brisk fire upon the enemy. In the mean time the Europa and Irre- 
sistible remained under sail, throwing in their broadsides when- 
ever it could be done with effect, and keeping in check a body 
of the enemy's horse and some brigands, that appeared disposed 
to interrupt the troops in their landing. By 5 p.m. the detach- 

1 See p. 131, 


ment was wholly disembarked, under the direction of Captain 
Thomas Affleck, of the Fly sloop. The fort had fired but at 
ihtervals from the time the ships were 'placed, yet the colours 
were still flying. A stop, however, was put to all firing at 6 p.m.^ 
by a most tremendous thunder-storm and deluge of rain. This 
was taken advantage of by Captain Daniel of the 41 st regiment, 
at the head of an advanced party then marching towards the fort. 
He and his 60 men, rushing forward with their bayonets, carried 
the place by assault, and were soon afterwards joined by the 
main body under Major Spencer. 

On the following morning, the 2nd, tjie British colours were 
hoisted on Fort Brissoton. On the same evening a party of 
200 British, under Colonel Hampfield, landed at Pointe Saline ; 
and, on the morning of the 3rd, the 32-gun frigates Hermione, 
Captain John Hills, and Iphigenia, Captain Patrick Sinclair, got 
under way, and cannonaded an advanced post of the enemy at 
Bemad on, in order to divert their attention from Colonel Hamp- 
field* s detachment. The badness of the weather prevented any 
further operations until the morning of the 4th, when the prin- 
cipal posts, which had been abandoned in the night, were taken 
possession of by the troops. The inhabitants of Port-au-Prince 
requested that the British colours should be hoisted, which 
was accordingly done. Thus did the capital of the French part 
of St. Domingo fall into the same hands as Tiburon, Cape 
Nicolas-Mole, and J^rdmie. 

The loss sustained by the British, and which was incurred 
wholly at the storming of Fort Brissoton, was, one captain of 
infimtry and eight privates killed, and one captain of infantry 
and two privates wounded ; also, on board the Hermione, five 
seamen killed and six wounded, and on board the Belliqueux, 
ten seamen and marines wounded. In the harbour of Port-au- 
Prince were found 16 ships and brigs, richly laden with colonial 
produce, and 16 others in ballasi, two of which were of 600 and 
one of 700 tons. 

The British post at Cai)e Tiburon was garrisoned by 450 men, 
chiefly colonial troops, under the command of Lieutenant iGreorge 
Bradford, of the 23rd regiment of infantry. A small battery, 
mounting three long 18-pounders, scarcely in a serviceable state , 
and an armed merchant-ship, the King George (" King Grey " 
in the Gazette), moored with springs on her cable at the 
entrance of the harbour, were the principal sea-defences of the 

On the 25th of December, at daylight, a body of French and 
colonial troops from Aux-Cayes, amounting as supposed to 3000, 

1794.] . COAST OF AFRICA. 253 

including 800 regnlars and artillery, and assisted by three armed 
vessels, commenced an attack upon the King George, whose 
crew defended the harbour with much spirit. Finding more 
resistance from the ship than they expected, the French landed 
their artillery ; and having erected a battery of one long 18 and 
one 8 pounder, with three smaller pieces and an 8-inch mortar, 
they opened a heavy fire upon the Ein*g George ; which, how- 
ever, she still continued to return. At the end of a 48 hours' 
incessant cannonade, during which, at intervals of ten minutes, 
a 50 lb. shell was tlirown from the mortar, the Xing George, 
from the shot-holes in her hull, had sunk nearly up to her 
battery ; when a red-hot shot striking the magazine, the ship 
blew up, and all on board, as far as we know, perished. 

Having accomplished this their first object, the French turned 
their guns upon the lower battery, and very soon dismounted 
the two remaining 18-pounder8, the third having burst on its 
first discharge. As soon as this battery was silenced, the French 
attacked the upper fort; and, having thrown into it several 
shells, and killed and wounded about 100 of the garrison, they 
compelled the remainder to abandon their works and retire to 
Cape Donna Maria. 

Coast of Africa, 

On the 28th of SeT)tember a French squadron from Brest, 
consisting of the 50-gun frigate, or cut-down 74, Experiment, 
Captain and senior officer Zacharie-Jacques-Theodore Allemand, 
frigates Vengeance and Felicity, brig-corvettes Mutine and 
Epervier, and two Guinea ships that had been captured in the 
passage, approached the town of Sierra-Leone under English 
colours, and, unmolested, drew up before it in such a manner as 
to command every street.^ The ships then exchanged their 
colours to French, and commenced a heavy cannonade upon the 
inhabitants ; who, being without any naval or other force to 
protect them, hauled down the British ensign from the flagstaff 
on which, out of compliment to their supposed friends, they had 
previously hoisted it. 

llegardless of this unequivocal symbol of submission, the 
Vengeance and Felicitd continued, for nearly two hours, raking 
the streets with grape-shot, and thereby killed two and wounded 
five men.2 

1 Mr. James has given a vast import- * The population of this sink of wretch- 

ance to Sierra- Leone, by speaking of its edness must have retired to the woods (not 

streets. In 1810 it had but one; and no their lo<;-bailt houses), or the slaughicr 

poetical imagination could sufficiently pic- occasioned by two hours' firing from large 

ture the misery of this insignificant, un- frigates must have been very ineffectual, 

important, and unworthily denominated — £d. 
town — Ed. 


At length the French landed from the ehips, and immediately 
proceeded to plunder such houses as remained standing, and 
which the owners had very wisely abandoned. Just as the re- 
lentless invaders were preparing to involve the whole town in 
one blaze, several of the maroon settlers from Jamaica and 
Nova-Scotia returned to it, and solicited the preservation of 
their dwellings. The French commander granted their request, 
observing, that his vengeance should be confined to the British 
settlers : he then caused the church, the company^s warehouses, 
and the houses of all the Fnglish residents, to be set on fire and 

After the performance of this most cruel act, by which 1500 
poor settlers were left destitute, one of the frigates proceeded up 
the river to the island of Banca ; which, for two days, the French 
ship cannonaded without success, the garrison of the small fort 
at the town making a resolute defence. On the third day the 
second frigate arrived to reinforce her consort ; when, the inha- 
bitants having withdrawn their property, the garrison retired 
from the fort, leaving their colours flying : a well-planned ruse, 
as it imposed upon the enemy the idea of resistance, and gave to 
the few troops and inhabitants a full hour's unmolested retreat. 

The French continued at Sierra-L^one until the 23rd of 
October; during which time they wooded and watered, but 
never proceeded into the country, nor iiQured the plantations. 
The crews, indeed, were already so weakened by the disease of 
the climate, that two well-manned British 38-gun frigates, and 
one 20-gun ship would, in all probability, have made prizes of 
the whole squadron. After having captured or destroyed eleven 
vessels belonging to the company, the squadron of M. Allemand 
made sail along the coast, in company with the Harpy, of 
London, a fine ship of 400 tons, mounting 12 guns, and very 
richly laden. 

On the 7th of November the French arrived at Cape Mount; 
where, and at other places along the coast between Senegal and 
Bonny, they destroyed about 27 Guineamen ; having previously, 
as they had done at Sierra-L^one, taken out everything valuable, 
and landed the seamen and slaves, detaining only the captains. 
Thus freighted with spoils, the squadron made sail homewards, 
and succeeded in reaching the port of their departure, after 
having, according to the French accounts, destroyed 210 I^ng- 
lish, Spanish, and Portuguese vessels. 

( 255 ) 


The abstract of the British navy, for the commencement of the 
present, advances but slowly upon that of the preceding year. 
In the line-total there is a decrease of three cruisers ; but the 
commission column shows an increase of six, and the increase of 
cruisers, line and under-line, amounts to 63.* The number of 
French national ships captured by the British duiing the year 
1794 amoimts to 36, of which number 27 (and of these 24 only 
as cruisers) were added to the British navy.^ The latter lost 
during the same period 17 vessels, of which nine, including one 
of the line, fell into the hands of the enemy .^ 

Of the 15 ships that remained of those building at the com- 
mencement of the war, four had been launched, also 20 of the 
24 ordered in the year 1793, and 16, all of a small description', 
out of the 31'* ordered in 1794. Among the latter was a first- 
rate, originally intended to be a 100-gun ship, but subsequently 
ordered to be made large enough to carry 120 guns, besides 
poop-carronades. Of this ship we shall say more when we come 
to the abstract of the year succeeding that in which she is 

During the year 1794 an admiralty order was issued directing 
that all frigates, down to the 18-pounder class of 32s inclusive, 
should in future be constructed with four instead of three-inch 
bottoms ; whereby it was considered the ships would be more 
strong and durable, and, in the event of grounding, be able to 
bear the shock with less injury to their frames. 

^ See Appendix, Annual Abstract, No. 3. similar instance. All ships, in either of 

- See Appendix, No. 15. the ** launched" columns of one abstract, 

3 J hid. No. 16. that are not to be found in the •• building " 

* The deduction of the 16 is already column of the preceding one, must huvo 

made in the "ordered" column of the been ordered to have been built since the 

abstract ; as, indeed, is the case in every date of the latter. 


But improvement was not confined to the strength of the 
ships. It had long been an imputation upon the British that 
their ships of war were, generally speaking, very indifferent 
sailers. As one means of obviating this, it was determined to 
give to the ships greater length, in proportion to their breadth, 
than had hitherto been customary in the English dockyards. 
The raising of the lower batteries of the two and three-decked 
ships, with a due regard to their proper stability, was also an 
improvement, and no slight one, in the higher rates that were 

Towards the end of November, 1794, a new scale was drawn 
up, by order of the board of admiralty, for arming the navy with 
carronades ; and this establishment, unlike that of 1779,* was 
made compulsory on the part of the ships coming forward to be 
fitted. But stiU, as a captain might generally, on a special 
application, have the whole or any less number of his long guns 
exchanged for an equal number of additional carronades ; and, 
as many ships, from continuing at sea, underwent no change in 
their armament until long subsequent to the date of the order, 
little use can be made of it in the way of a general guide. A 
whole, although a small class of vessels, had been armed 
throughout, except for chase-guns, with 1 8-pound er carronades ; 
a great accession of force, undoubtedly, as vessels of the size in 
question could only have borne an equal number of 3, or at most 
of 4 pounders. Two instances occur in the year 1794 where 
carronades of the highest caliber were employed; the 74-gun 
ship Albion and 64 Nonsuch, on being fitted as floating batteries, 
were armed, the one with twenty-eight the other with twenty 

During the year 1794 an alteration took place in the esta- 
blished complements of British ships of war. The order in council 
directing it bears date on the 16th of April ; but as the altera- 
tion could scarcely take efifect throughout the navy before 
the end of the year, we have deferred any notice of it till now. 
The order purports to direct a reduction in the complement of 
every ship in the British navy ; complements, as we have else- 
where observed, already much lower than those allowed in any 
other naval establishment. But the reduction, in truth, was 
merely nominal ; as few, if any, of the " servants" forming so 
large a proportion of the old complements were ever on board 
the ship to which they were attached. They were nearly as 
much men of straw as the widow's men that, even now, are 

1 See p. 38. > See notes f*, and u*, Annual Abstract, No. 3. 


absurdly reckoned as part of the complement of a British ship 
of war. These servants were to be replaced by about three- 
fourths as many boys, who were to be actually on board. A 
fiffch of these boys was to consist of young gentlemen volunteers, 
intended for officers, and who were not to be under 11 years of 
age. The second class was to consist of three-fourths boys 
between 16 and 17 years of age, and who were to keep watch 
with the seamen. The remahider of the boys were to be between 
13 and 16 years of age, and were intended chiefly to wait upon 
the h'eutenants and other officers. 

The greatest proportion in which these boys are to the com- 
plement is a seventh, the smallest about a twentieth, and even 
the latter far exceeds irhat is customary in the complements of 
the ships of war belonging to any other nation. The additional 
carronades and the complement, as altered, of ef ery class of 
British ship, will be found annexed to the abstract for the year 

The number of commissioned officers and masters belonging 
to the British navy at the commencement of the year 1795 was, 

Admirals 21 

Vice-admirals 36 

Rear-admirals 31 

,, superamiiiated 28 

Postrcaptains 425 

„ superamiuated 27 

Commanders, or sloop-captains . . . 230 

Lieutenants 1623 

„ superannuated 26 

Masters 361 

and the number of seamen and marines voted for the service of 
the same year was 100,000.^ 

Several circumstances conspired to diminish the effect which 
the defeat of the 1st of June might be supposed to have pro- 
duced on the French navy. The exaggerated accounts, which 
alone were permitted to be read, rather heightened than de- 
pressed the national confidence ; and the arrival of the great 
American convoy furnished suj^es^ if not of provisions to any 
great extent on acoount of the amazing consumption of so popu* 
lous a country as France, of seamen at least ; and these became 
increased owing to another cause, the languishing state of pri* 
vateering during the year 1794 (three French privateers only 
were captured), occasioned chiefly by the little encouragement 

1 8e« Appendix, lfo> lY. 
VOL. I. S 


which the government, for the very purpose perhaps of manning 
the navy, held out to the merchants. 

The nayy of France was still very strong. In the road of 
Brest there were, including the new 74 Fougueux on her way 
from Bochefort, 35 sail of the line, besides the Invincible three- 
decker and two 74s repairing, and the immense Yengeur and 
one 74 building (the latter nearly ready) in the arsenal. At 
Lorient there were on the stocks one 80 and two 74-gun ships, 
and at Eochefort one three-decker, one 80, and one 74, making a 
total, without reckoning the ships in Toulon, of 46 sail of the line. 

Three distinct expeditions appear to have been in the contem- 
plation of the French government at the close of the year 1794. 
One squadron of six sail of the line and a few frigates and cor- 
vettes under the orders of Eear-admiral Eenaudin, the late 
Yengeur's gallant captain, was to hasten to the Mediterranean, 
to reinforce the Toulon fleet. With a second squadron of six 
sail of the line, four frigates, four corvettes, and a sufficiency of 
transports to contain 6000 troops, Eear-admiral Kerguelen, an 
officer of the old French marine, and one of the most active and 
experienced at this time in the service, was to make his way to 
India, for the purpose of placing the Isle of France in a proper 
state of defence. A third squadron, composed of two or three 
sail of the line and smaller vessels, including transports with 
troops, was destined for Saint Domingo, in order, if possible, 
to restore the French authority in that ill-fated island. 

Such, however, was the state of penury, both in the arsenals 
and the storehouses of Brest, that there was not timber and 
cordage enough properly to repafr the ships disabled on the 1st 
of June, nor a sufficiency of provisions to supply the fleet with 
sea-stores, flour and biscuit in particular, for even a much shorter 
voyage than either of those in contemplation by the French 
minister, or commissary, M. d*Albarade. To increase the evil 
of waiting for the expected convoy of 50 or 60 vessels north- 
about from the Baltic, the number of mouths daily to be fed in 
the port amounted to 72,000.^ 

The reinforcement to the Toulon fleet being considered of more 
immediate consequence than the other expeditions, the squadron 
allotted for that service was with great difficulty provisioned for 
six months ; and the remainder of the Brest fleet, many of the 
ships with only a 15 days* stock on board, and a few others 
with fished masts, and with hulls, from the hard battering they 
had received, scarcely seaworthy, were to quit port, and escort 

^ Relations des Combats, &c par Y. I. Kergoelen, andea contie amiral, p. 369. 


those six sail of the line beyond the probable cmismg ground of 
the British Channel fleet, reported to consist, including the Por- 
tuguese squadron, of 33 sail of the line. 

Everything being in readiness, or as much so at least as cir- 
cumstances would permit, a gale of wind from a fair quarter was 
considered a favourable opportunity ; and on or about the 24th 
of December, 1794, the Brest fleet, consisting of 35 ships of the 
line (five three-deckers, three 808, and the remainder 74s),^ 13 
frigates, and 16 corvettes, avisos, and tenders, making in the 
whole 63 vessels of war, got under way, and stood for the har- 
bour's mouth or goulet. The commandei>in-chief of this, for 
France, immense armament, was Vice-admiral Villaret-Joyeuse, 
having under him the Kear-admirals Bouvet, Nielly, Yanstabel, 
and Eenaudin, and, as his colleagues and supervisors, the con- 
ventional deputies Faure and Trehouart. 

The folly of attempting to move so numerous and ill-provided 
a fleet in liie midst of a peculiarly severe winter, and, above all, 
during the prevalence of a violent gale of wind, very soon showed 
its effects. The E^publicain three-decker struck on the Mingan 
rock, which stands nearly in the centre of the goulet, and was 
entirely lost ; and the Eedoubtable 74, but for the skill and pre- 
sence of mind of her captain, M. Moncousu, would have shared 
the same fate ; as it was, the latter ship lost all her anchors and 

In consequence of these disasters the remaining ships of 
M. Villaret's fleet came again to an anchor, and did not make a 
second attempt until the 31st of December. On this day the 
fleet, now by the loss of the Republicain reduced to 34 sail of 
the line and frigates, weighed and stood out to sea, where we will 
leave the French ships to make the best of their way, while we 
recount a very dashing exploit in the reconnoitring way, which 
occurred during their absence. 

On the 2nd of January, early in the morning, an indistinct 
account of the sailing of the Brest fleet having reached Falmouth, 
a squadron of British frigates, consisting of the Flora, Captain 
Sir John Borlase Warren ; Arethusa, Captain Sir Edward Pel- 
lew; and Diamond, Captain Sir William Sidney Smith, was 
despatched to the Bay of Brest to ascertain the truth of the 
prevailing rumour. 

On the 3rd the squadron arrived off the port, and Sir John 
immediately sent the Diamond to look well into the harbour. 

1 As uo action occurred with these ships thus united as a fleet, their names need 
not appear. 


With the wind at east the frigate commenced beating up to- 
wards the entrance. At 2 p.m. Sir Sidney observed, also work- 
ing in, three sail, evidently French ships-of-war. At 5 p.m., in 
order to be ready to take advantage of the next flood-tide, the 
Diamond cast anchor between Fointe Saint Mathieu and Bee* 
du-Baz, and found lying, within about a mile from Saint Mathieu 
and scarcely two from herself, a large ship, judged to be one of 
the three which had been seen beating to windward. At 11 p.m. 
the Diamond got under way, and continued working up under 

On the 4th, at 2 a.m., Sir Sidney made out the vessel at 
anchor to be a ship of the line, and at 2h. 80 m. am. passed 
dose to windward of a frigate at anchor within Basse-Buz^e. 
The ebb-tide had now made ; but the Diamond, that she might 
not drift to leeward or create suspicion, continued under sail, 
tacking between the roads of Bertheaume and Camaret. 

The appearance of daylight at 7 ▲ jc. brought to her view two 
ships coming through the goulet de Brest, 15 sail of small vessels 
at anchor in Camaret road, and a ship without her fore and miz^^ 
masts aground, as it appeared, on Fetit^Menou point. This ship 
there can be very little doubt was the B^publicain, Pointe du 
Petit Menou lying directly in a line with the Mingan rock and 
with Pointe de Bertheaume, near to which at that time was the 

At 7h. 40 m. a.m., not observing any ships in Brest road, 
the Diamond bore up towards Saint Mathieu. At 8 a.m. the 
Gh&teau de Bertheaume made several signals, on which the 
Diamond hoisted French national colours. In ten minutes after- 
wards a corvette, which had been running along Bertheaume 
bay to the westward, shortened sail, and evinced her suspicion 
of the Diamond by hoisting several signals, and hauling close 
under the lee of the castle. The British frigate, nevertheless, 
stood on, and soon passed within hail of the line-of-battle ship ; 
which, with jury-yards and topmasts, was still at anchor, appa- 
rently without any main-deck guns, and very leaky. Sir Sidney 
asked the French commander, if he wanted any assistance. 
The latter is stated to have replied **No," and to have readily 
informed Sir Sidney, that the ship's name was the Nestor, that 
she had been dismasted in a gale of wind, and had parted from 
the fleet three days before. With this intelligence, the Diamond, 
whose disguised appearance, aided by Sir Sidney's excellent 
French, had completely deceived the French captain and his 
officers, crowded sail to rejoin her consorts. 


While the French 74 and British frigate were speaking each 
other, a French frigate, with topgaUantyards across, lay at 
anchor a short distance to windward. It appears that this was 
the new 40-giin frigate Virginie, Captain Jacques Bergeret, and 
that the remaining French ship of the tirree which were beating 
up when the Diamond first saw them, was the 74-gan ship 
I'ouguenx, recentiy launched at Rochefort, and which, with the 
Virginie, had escorted from Bordeaux the 15 safl of vessels at 
anchor in Caanaret bay. The Diamond, notwithstanding her 
perilous situation, got clear off, and at 10 h. 30 m. joined the 
Arethusa, which frigate the commodore stationed innshore, on 
the look-out for her venturous companion. 

Scarcely had the French fleet got well to sea before it en- 
countered a gale of wind, in which several ' of the ships were 
damaged, and the Nestor, with the loss of some of her masts, 
put back, as has already, been stated. The probability of the 
fleet's being kept at sea beyond the 16 days, for which the 
majority of the ships had been provisioned, rendered it necessary 
for the six Toulon ships to divide their six months' stock among 
their companions, and defer their voyage to another opportunity. 
In a day or two after the gale had abated a thick fog came on, 
in which the whole of Rear-admiral YanstabeFs division, of 
eight sail of the line and some frigates, separated and returned 
to Brest. 

On the 28th of January, when the remainder of the fleet, 
continuing their cruise, had reached 150 leagues from Brest, a 
second and a much more tremendous gale overtook them. The 
Neuf-Thermidor (late Jacobin), Scipion, and Superbe, being old 
ships, foundered. Nearly the whole of the Neuf-Thermidor's 
crew perished, many of them on account of the forehand main 
masts falling on the quarter-deck. The crews of the other two 
ships, except 21 men in the Superbe, were fortunately saved. 
The latter ship overset before all her people had quitted her. 
The Neptune ran on shore and was wrecked at Peros, a bay 
about 12 leagues from Brest, between Br^het and Morlaix. The 
Tdmeraire and Convention reached with great difficulty, the one 
Port Malo, the other Lorient. The remainder of the fleet re- 
turned to Brest on the 1st and 2nd days, of February, in a very 
crippled state. The Majestueux three-decker was so leaky, that 
she could hardly be kept afloat, even at her moorings. 

As some slight compensation for these disasters to his fleet, 
M. Villaret captured and destroyed, during his 34 days* cruise, 
about 100 sail of enemy's vessels, great and small, including 


the British 20-guii ship, or, as from her real monnted force the 
French were warranted in designatingher, 30-gnn frigate Daphne. 

On the 14th of February, after ^several days' detention in 
Torbay by a heavy gale at south-east, in which nine of the 36 
sail of the line in company parted their cables, but fortunately 
brought up again, Admiral Earl Howe, although in a state of 
health that would have justified retirement from the command, 
put to sea with the Channel fleet, and on the following day was 
joined, off Plymouth, by the Eaisonable 64, Eear-admiral Parker, 
and the already-named five Portuguese line-of-battle ships under 
Admiral-de-Yalle ;^ making his lordship's whole force 42 sail 
of the line, exclusive of about an equal number of frigates and 
sloops. Having seen the East and West India and other con- 
voys safe out of the Channel, and parted company with the de- 
tachments that had been ordered to attend them to their respec- 
tive destinations ; and having also gained certain intelligence 
that the French fleet was again in Brest harbour, Lord Howe, 
with the remainder of his fleet, reanchored at Spithead. 

The moment the Brest fleet, with so serious a reduction of its 
numbers, had regained their port, the utmost exertions were used, 
in the first instance, to requip and reprovision the six sail of the 
line and frigates intended for Toulon. By great exertion, and 
not without some difficulty, that was accomplished, and on the 
22nd of February Pear-admiral Eenaudin sailed for his desti- 
nation, and, as we shall hereafter show, arrived there in safety. 

In a week or two after the departure of M. Renaudin, 12 of 
the remaining ships of the Brest fleet, with the whole of the 
frigates, were at anchor in the road ready for sea ; and early in 
May Eear-admiral Jean-Gaspar Vence, with three 74s and six 
or seven frigates, was detached to the southward, to escort a 
convoy of coasters from Bordeaux. 

On the 30th of May the following squadron sailed from Spit- 
head on a cruise off Ushant : — 

^"n P' T.^„ 1 G . / Vice-adm. (b.) Hon. Wm. Comwallis. 
100 Royal Sovereign { Captain John Whitbr- 

I Mars ... „ Sir Charles Cotton, 

Triumph . 
Brunswick . 

38 Phaeton . 

32 Pallas . . 


18 Kingfisher . 



Sir Erasmus Gower. 
Lord Chai'les Fitzgerald. 
Lord Cranstoun. 

Hon. Robert Stopford. 
Hon. Hemy Cuizon. 

„ Thos. Le Marchant Gosselyn. 
1 See p. 202. 


On the 8th of June, at 10 a.m., the squadron made the land 
about the Penmarcks ; and at 10 h. 30 m. a.m. the Triumph 
threw out the signal for six sail east by north. These, and the 
other vessels seen about the same time, composed the squadron 
of Rear-admiral Vence ; who, with a numerous convoy in charge, 
was on his return to Brest. Having lain to until he discovered 
that the vessels in chase of him were enemy's cruisers, the French 
admiral, at about noon, stood away for Belle-Isle, under a press 
of sail. 

At 2 P.M. the Kingfisher, Phaeton, and Triumph, then con- 
siderably ahead of their companions, one of whom, the Bruns- 
wick, was hull-down astern, commenced firing at the enemy ; 
but, finding it impossible for the rest of the squadron to arrive 
up in time to prevent the French from getting under the island, 
within the southmost point of which the leading British ships 
then were, the vice-admiral made the signal to close. At 
4 P.M. two French frigates were chased in the south-west, one 
with a large ship in tow, which she abandoned to the British, 
as they approached : and then the two crowded away to join 
their admiral, who was about coming to an anchor. Several 
shots were now interchanged between the batteries of Belle- 
Isle and the advanced British ships, until the Triumph and 
Phaeton, shoaling their water, made the signal for danger. 

The vice-admiral thereupon recalled his ships from chase, 
and stood ofif with eight French vessels, laden with wine and 
brandy, which the squadron had captured out of a fleet, that 
was still plying to windward under the land, to gain the 
anchorage in Palais road. On the next day, the 9th, it was 
calm until 8 p.m., when, a breeze springing up, the British 
squadron took the prizes in tow, and steered for the Channel. 
On the 11th, when a few leagues to the southward of Scilly, the 
vice-admiral ordered the Kingfisher into port with the prizes, 
and stood back to the southward and eastward, to look after 
M. Vence and his squadron. 

When the news reached Brest, that Rear-admiral Vence had 
been chased into, and, as the account added, was blockaded at, 
Belle-Isle, the nine ships of the line at anchor in Brest road were 
still waiting for a supply of provisions, before they could at- 
tempt to sail upon their distant missions. All other considera- 
tions were now to give way to the relief of this squadron, sup- 
posed to be in jeopardy at Belle-Isle : supposed, we say, because 
it was known to the more experienced among the French oflGicers, 
that no blockading force could prevent Rear-admiral Vence from 


peatedly into her. At 9h. 30 m. a.m., wishing to cover the 
Bellerophon from the effects of the enemy's fire, neither that 
ship nor the lYiumph being able to spare the loss of a sail, the 
vice-admiral ordered the former to go ahead. 

The Bellerophon, accordingly, passed close tinder the lee of 
the Boyal Sovereign, the latter having shortened sail for that 
purpose, and took her station next in line to the Brunswick. 
At a few minutes before noon the cannonade became general on 
the part of the British ships, each firing her stem or quarter 
guns as she could bring them to bear. At 1 p.m. the second 
ship of the French van opened her fire on the British rear ; and 
at 1 h. 30 m. p.m. the first ship, having had her main topgallant- 
masts shot away, and being otherwise damaged by the fire of the 
Mars, sheered off, and dropped astern. The supposed Z^e's late 
second astern, the present van-ship, now opened a brisk can- 
nonade on the larboard quarter of the Mars. 

A harassing fire continued to be kept up at intervals by the 
leading French ships in succession, during the next three or four 
hours ; at the end of which Vice-admiral Comwallis, observing 
that the Mars, from the crippled state of her rigging and sails, 
had fallen to leeward, and was likely to be overpowered, threw 
out the signal for her to alter her course to starboard, or from the 
ships that were most annoying her. 

Immediately afterwards the Royal Sovereign bore round up 
in the direction of the Mars, and, opening her powerful broadside 
on the enemy, ran down, in company with the Triumph, to the 
support of her gallant but crippled friend ; who was thereby 
soon brought into close order of battle, and saved from further 
molestation. The commencement of this bold and well-executed 
manoeuvre, we have endeavoured to illustrate by the diagram 

Four of the French van-ships had, in the mean time, bore up 
to secure the crippled ship ; but, seeing the approach of the 
British three-decker, they again hauled to the wind. A partial 
firing continued until about 6h 10 m. p.m., when it entirely 
ceased. In another half-hour the French ships shortened 
sail, and gave over the pursuit. Soon afterwards they tacked 
and stood to the eastward, and at sunset were nearly hull-down 
in the north-east. 

The brunt of the action having been borne by the Mars and 
Triumph, those ships, particularly the former, were the only 
sufferers by the enemy's shot. The Triumph had some of her 
sails and running rigging cut, but escaped without the loss of 


a man. The Mars had her mainmast, and fore and maintop- 
sail yards damaged, besides standing and running rigging ; she 
had also 12 men wounded, but none killed. Owing to the com- 
paratively flimsy structure of their stem-frames, and the want of 
proper port-holes, all the British ships were great sufFerers from 
the protracted stem-fire which they were obliged to maintain. In 
the Triumph, who from her position in the line had the most 
occasion to keep up a stem-fire, the stem-galleries, bulkheads, 
and every part of the stem of the ward-room except the timbers, 
were cut away, and, from her three stem-batteries (first deck, 
second deck, and quarter-deck), that ship expended, in single 
shots, nearly 5000 lbs. of powder. 



« ' \y\ "Mars. 



It was very fortunate for the Mars and Triumph, and indeed 
for the whole British squadron (for their admiral does not appear 
to have been one who would have abandoned any of his ships), 
that there were no Captains Bergeret among those who com- 
manded the headmost line-of-battle ships of the chasing fleet. 


Bat, after all, what oould hare induced the French admiral to 
withdraw his 12 sail of the line and 14 or 15 frigates, at a time 
when they had almost Burronnded five British sail of the line 
and two frigates ? The French accounts admit that M. Yilkret, 
with a force such as we have described it, surrounded Vice- 
admiral Comwallis^s squadron, consisting of not a ship* more 
than it really contained ; and the reason they allege why the 
former did not make a prize of that squadron is, that sereral of 
the leading French ships disobeyed signals and were badly 

This is not doing the French admiral justice. We can better 
explain the cause of M. Villaret's extraordinary forbearance. 
On the 17th, in the morning, the British frigate Phaeton was 
detached ahead of her squadron, to try the effect of a i^se-de- 
guerre-, which we will proceed to describe. 

Having got to the distance of some miles, the frigate made 
the signal for a strange sail west-north-west ; soon afterwards, 
for four sail ; and finally, the well-known signal for a fleet, by 
letting fly the topgallantsheets, and firing two ,guns in quick 
succession. At 3 p.m., being then very far ahead, the Phaeton 
made the private signal to the supposed fleet ; and then, by the 
tabular signals, with which the French were well acquainted, she 
communicated to her own admiral that the fleet seen were 
friends, and, at 4h. 30 m., that they were ships of the line. 
The Phaeton then repeated the signal, as from the admiral to 
call in the strange fleet, by hoisting the Dutch ensign, and 
shortly afterwards shortened sail. 

At 6 P.M., as a singular coincidence, there actually appeared, 
in the direction to which the Phaeton's signals had been point- 
ing, several small sail. The British frigate immediately wore to 
rejoin her squadron ; and very soon afterwards, as has already 
been stated. Vice-admiral Villaret, to whom the strange sails 
must just then have discovered themselves, gave over the chase 
and tacked to the eastward. 

So far from the French officers denying this, several of them, 
when afterwards in company with British officers, strenuously 
insisted that it was Lord Bridport's fleet, which they knew was 
at sea, that they saw, and that that, and that alone, was the 
cause of their not following up their advantage. Let, however, 
M. Villaret's reasons for his conduct have been what they may, 
the masterly retreat of Vice-admiral Comwallis excited genewJ 
admiration; and the spirit manifested by Hie different ships' 
companies of his little squadron, while pressed upon by a force 


from its threefold puperiority so capable of crushing them, was 
just such as ought always to animate British seamen when in 
the pres^ce of an enemy. 

Among the merits of the British admiral on this occasion, 
must not be forgotten the handsome manner in which, in his 
official letter, he mentions his oflScers and men ; nor the modest 
manner in which he refers to his own gallant act of bearing up, 
in the face of so formidable a fleet, to support one of his crippled 
ships. After extolling the behaviour of every captain by name, 
the vice-admiral iwoceeds thus : " Indeed, I shall ever feel the 
impression which the good conduct of the captains, officers, sea- 
men, marines, and soldiers in the squadron, has made on my 
mind ; and it was the greatest pleasure I ever received to see the 
spirit manifested by the men, who, instead of being cast down at 
seeing 30 sail of the enemy's ships attacking our little squadron, 
were in the highest spirits imaginable. I do not mean the Royal 
Sovereign alone : the same spirits was shown in all the ships as 
they came near me ; and although, circumstanced as we were, 
we had no great reason to complain of the conduct of the 
enemy, yet our men could not help repeatedly expressing their 
contempt of them. Could common prudence have allowed me 
to let loose their valour, I hardly know what might not have 
been accomplished by such men." Of the Eoyal Sovereign'B 
individual share he merely says : "In the evening they made a 
show of a more serious attack upon the Mars, and obliged me to 
bear up for her support." Such good conduct in all concerned 
met its reward; and both houses of parliament unanimously 
voted their thanks to Yice-admiral Comwallis and his com- 
panions in arms on this memorable occasion. 

Two English naval writers of respectability, and, indeed, of 
no slight influence, both being professional men, seem to 
attribute the successful issue of Yice-admiral Comwallis's 
retreat to the manner, the peculiar manner, in which he formed 
his squadron. One says: " He retreated with his ships in the 
form of a wedge, of which the Royal Sovereign was the apex ; 
and whenever the enemy approached sufficiently near, they 
were soon taught to keep at a safer distance.** ^ 

The other writer, upon two of his plates, actually represents 
the British squadron in this wedge-like form, with "the flag- 
ship at the angular point." He is afterwards obliged to admit, 
that " a distinguished officer, who was present on this occasion, 
has observed that these figures are not wholly correct." ^ 

1 BreolODjVol. i.i p» 374. * Ekins's Naval Battles, p. 210. 




Admiral Ekins, then, in a third and fourth plate, represents the 
Brunswick and Bellerophon in extended line abreast, the first 
on the weather, and the last on the lee bow of the Boyd 
Sovereign; who has, in a well-formed line astern of her, ^ the 
Triumph and Mars. 

That the Bellerophon was not on the lee bow of the Eoyal 
Sovereign is clear from the following extract from the former 
ship's log, referring to the period when the Mars compelled the 
supposed Z^le to sheer off : " The admiral hailed the BeUerophon, 
and desired her to keep her station a little on his weather bow." 
As it appears to us, the Brunswick, Bellerophon, and Eoyal 
Sovereign should have been represented nearly in line ahead, 
and the Triumph and Mars, from the latter's accidental fall to 
leeward, nearly in line abreast, and bearing on each quarter 
(as the Brunswick and Bellerophon are represented in the 
above plate on each bow) of the Royal Sovereign; who, in 
consequence, was able occasionally to fire from her stem-chasers 
between them. 

Vice-admiral Comwallls proceeded straight to Plymouth, 
with the intelligence of the fleet from which he had had so 
narrow an escape, and Vice-admiral Villaret Joyeuse made the 
best of his way back to Brest, to give an account of the disaster 
that had attended him. Just as the French fleet, having 
rounded the point of Penmarck, was about to enter the bay of 
Andieme, a violent gale of wind from the northward, that 
lasted 27 hours, separated the ships, and drove them for shelter 
to the anchorage of Belle-Isle. 

Here all the ships assembled, and the fleet soon afterwards 
weighed, and made sail ; when, on the 22nd of Jime, 3 h. 3 m. 
A.M., the British Channel fleet made its appearance in the north- 
west. This fleet, on account of the continued indisposition of 
Earl Howe, under the command of Lord Bridport, had sailed 
from Spithead on the same day that the French fleet had quitted 
Brest, and consisted of the 

(Admiral (w.) Lord Bridport. 
Captain William Domett. 

„ Sir Andrew Snape Douglas. 
( Vice-adm. (b.) Sir Alan Gardiner. 
I Captain William Bedford. 
f Vice-adm. (b.) John Colpoys. 
\ Captain Edward Griffith. 
( Rear-adm. (r.) Henry Harvey. 
( Captain John Bazely. 

100 - 

Royal George . 
Queen Charlotte . 
Queen . . . . 

98 - 

London . . . . 

Prince of Wales . . 







Prince . 
Barfleur . 
Prince George 


Orion . 
Colossus . 

Captain Charles Powell Hamilton. 

James Richard Dacres. 

William Edge. 
JRear-adm, (r.) Lord Hugh Seymour. 
\Captain William Browell. 

Christopher Parker. 

Sir Jam&s Saumarez. 

Richard Grindall. 

Thomas Larcom. 

John Monkton. 






Frigates^ ReVolutionnaire, Thalia, Nymphe, Aquilon, Astrea, and 20-gun 
ship Babet; Maegera and Incendiary fireships, Charon hospital-ship, and 
Argus and Dolly luggers. 

The object of the departure of the Channel fleet appears to 
have been to give protection to an expedition under the command 
of Commodore Sir John Borlase Warren, in the 40-gun frigate 
Pomone, bound to Quiberon bay ; and of which expedition we 
shall presently say more. Lord Bridport continued in company 
with Sir John Warren and his charge until the 19th ,• when, 
being near Belle-Isle, and the wind blowing fair for Quiberon, 
the admiral, with the Channel fleet, stood out from the coast, in 
order to keep an offing and be ready to receive the Brest fleet, 
should the latter quit port (its departure being then unknown) 
and attempt to molest the expedition. 

The Arethusa, Sir John's advanced frigate, just as she had 
made the land of Belle-Isle, descried the fleet of M. Villaret 
coming from under it, and immediately made the signal for " 16 
sail of the line and 10 frigates.*' The squadron and transports 
thereupon altered their course, so as to avoid the French fleet, 
and Sir John despatched a fast-sailing vessel with the intelli- 
gence to Lord Bridport. 

Either the expedition was not seen by the Brest fleet, or was 
considered to be the Channel fleet, and of superior force. At 
all events, M. Villaret missed a very fine opportunity of bene- 
fiting his country; and early on the next morning, the 20th, 
Sir John Warren came in sight of Lord Bridport. The latter, 
meanwhile, had despatched a lugger to Sir John, with directions 
to send to him his three line-of-battle ships, the Kobust' and 
Thunderer 748, Captains Edward Thomborough and Albe- 
marle Bertie, and the Standard 64, Captain Joseph Ellison, in 
order that the British fleet might be more upon an equality 
with the French fleet, according to the account of its numbers, 
as first represented by the Arethusa, and since communicated to 
the admiral by the commodore's despatch-vesseL 


Lord Bridport, with his 14 sail of the line exclusive of the 
three in sight in the north-west and endeavouring to join him, 
kept between the expedition and the French fleet, composed, 
it will be recollected, of 12 sail of the line; but he was 
prevented, by a sudden change in the wind, from gaining a 
sight of the latter until 3 h. 30 m. a.m. on the 22nd, as has 
already been stated. At this time the . British fleet was in 
latitude 47° 4' north, longitude 4P 16' west, Belle-Isle bearing 
east by north half-north, distant about 14 leagues, standing 
upon the starboard tack, with a light air of wind from about 
south by east. 

Finding that the French admiral, by his manoeuvres, had no 
mtention to offer battle. Lord Bridport, at 6 h. 30 m. a.m., 
directed, by signal, the Sans-Pareil, Oiion, Colossus, Irresistible, 
Valiant, and Hussel, as being the best sailing ships, to chase; 
and at 6 h. 45 m. p.m. signalled the whole fleet to do the same. 
Every sail that could be carried on a wind was now set on all 
the ships ; and at noon the centre of the French fleet, then 
standing in for the land, bore east-south-east, distant about 
12 miles. During the afternoon it became nearly calm, but the 
little wind there was had drawn rather more aft. 

At 7 P.M. the British admiral made the signal to harass tbe 
enemy's rear, and at 7 h. 25 m. p.m. to engage as the ships 
came up, and to take stations for mutual support. By sunset 
the British fleet, notwithstanding the unfavourable state of tbe 
weather, had advanced considerably upon that of the French. 
At about 10 h. 30 m. p. m. the ships were all taken aback, and 
soon afterwards it again fell nearly calm. At 3 a.m. on the 23rd, 
however, a fine light breeze sprang up from the south-west by 
south ; and, with the daylight, appeared the French fleet, right 
ahead, all in a cluster, except three or four ships, the rearmost 
of which was a long way astern of her companions, and at no 
greater distance from the van of the British fleet than three miles. 

At this time the British ships were very much scattered, and 
all astern of the Queen Charlotte, except the Lresistible, who 
was within hail on her larboard bow. The Queen Charlotte 
had attained this advanced, and for a three-decker rather 
extraordinary, station in the chase, by the nicest^ attention in 
trimming her sails, so] as to meet the light and variable airs of 
the preceding night, and by constantly keeping her head in the 
direction of the enemy. The ships which, besides the Lresist- 
ible, were the nearest to the Queen Charlotte, were the Orion, 
Sans-Pareil) Colossus, and BusseL 


At 4 A.M. the isle of Groix, or Belle-Tsle, as the Royal George 
and one or two other British ships appear to have considered 
it, bore on the Queen Charlotte's lee bow, or nearly east, distant 
about eight miles. At 5 a.m. one of the French frigates took 
in tow the Alexandre, Captain Frangois-Charles Guillemet; 
which ship, not having improved in the quality that had, in the 
preceding year, deprived the British navy of her services, was 
now the sternmost of M. Villaret's fleet. At a few minutes 
before 6 a.m. this ship, and one or two ahead of her, began 
firing their stem-chasers at the Irresistible. At 6 a.m. the 
latter opened her fire upon the Alexandre, whom the frigate, 
for her own safety, had by this time abandoned ; and in a 
minute or two afterwards, the Orion commenced firing at the 
same ship. 

At about 6 h. 15 m. a.m. the next ship ahead of the Alexandre, 
the Formidable, Captain Charles-Alexandre Durand-Linois, 
received the starboard guns of the Queen Charlotte, and 
immediately discharged her larboard guns in return. At 
6 h. 30 m. A.M. the Formidable, at whom the Sans-Pareil had just 
commenced a cannonade, caught fire on the poop, and soon 
being, in hull, masts, rigging, and sails, very much cut up by 
the well-directed broadsides of two such antagom'sts, parti- 
cularly of the Queen Charlotte^(the Sans-Pareil having passed 
ahead in search of a better-conditioned opponent), dropped 
astern. Shortly afterwards, on her mizenmast falling over the 
side, the Formidable bore up and struck her colours. 

The Colossus, Russel, London, and Queen, on the part of the 
British, and the Peuple, Mucins, Eedoutable, Wattigny, and 
Nestor, on the part of the French, now participated more or 
less in the action. The remaining four French ships, the Z^l^, 
Fougueux, Jean-Bart, and Droits de THomme, kept too far 
ahead to be engaged ; and all the British ships, except the eight 
already named, notwithstanding the quantitj^ of sail they 
carried, were far astern. 

The rigging and sails of the Queen Charlotte soon exhibited 
proofs of the destructive fire which the French rear-ships had 
been pouring upon her, and she became in consequence quite 
unmanageable. At 7 h. 14 m. a.m., finding herself, as she 
dropped astern, annoyed very much by the fire of a ship on her 
larboard beam, the Queen Charlotte opened her broadside upon 
this antagonist, and at once compelled the Alexandre, already 
in a very crippled state from the gallant resistance she had pre- 
viously made, to haul down her colours. As the Queen 

VOL. I. T 


Charlotte had edited away to close the Alexandre, the Tigre, 
Oaptaiii Jacques Bedout, with whom, as well as partially with 
the Peuple, the former had been engaged on the larboard side, 
ranged ahead, pursued and cannonaded by the Sans-PareiL A 
freshening breeze from the south-south-east now brought up 
the Queen and London ; and, on receiving their fire, the Tigre 
hauled down her colours. 

At about 7 h. 57 m. a.m. the Royal George passed the Queen 
Charlotte on the starboard and weather side, as the latter lay 
repairing hqr damaged rigging. Having knotted her ropes in 
the best manner the time would allow, the Queen Charlotte 
hauled on board her fore and main tacks, to afford every pos- 
sible assistance to the admiral. At 8 h. 15 m. Lord Bridport 
threw out a signal for the Colossus, who was about a mile and 
a half on the Queen Charlotte's weather bow, to discontinue the 
action ; and, in five minutes afterwards, made the same signal to 
the Sans-Pareil, who was about a mile and a-half on the Queen 
Charlotte's lee bow, and then receiving a fire from the larboard 
quarter guns of the Peuple. The Koyal George, when about 
half a mile from the west point of Isle-Groix, bore up and fired 
her starboard broadside into the stem and larboard quarter of 
the Peuple and her larboard broadside (not knowing that she 
had struck) into the starboard bow of the Tigre ; who imme- 
diately bore up, and a second time made the signal of sub- 

Immediately after she had done firing at the Tigre, which was 
about 8 h. 37 m. a.m., the Royal George wore round from the 
land and from the French fleet ; and the other British ships fol- 
lowed the motions of their admiral. The Prince, Barfleur, and 
Prince George were now directed, by signal, to take in tow the 
prizes i and they and the fleet stood away to the south-west. 
The weathermost French ships, when Lord Bridport discontinued 
the action, did not, it appears, point higher than the mouth of 
the river Quimperlay, and could therefore have been weathered 
by the Royal George and the other fresh ships that were coming 
up. Finding himself thus unexpectedly relieved, the ^French 
admiral kept his wind, and, after making several tacks, sheltered 
his fleet between Isle-Groix and the entrance to the Lorient. 

None of the British ships appear to have had any spars shot 
away ; but the ships that were near enough to get into action 
suffered more or less damage in their masts, rigging, and sails. 
The fore and main masts of the Queen Charlotte, who, as we 
have seen, particularly distinguished herself, were badly wounded. 


So were the main masts of the Sans Pareil and Irresistible ; as 
well as the main yard of the latter and the foretopsail yard of 
the former. 

Taking the ships in the order in which they appear to have 
been engaged, the Irresistible had three seamen killed, her cap- 
tain, master (Thomas Troughton), and nine seamen and marines 
wounded; the Orion, six seamen and marines killed, and 18 
woimded; the Queen Charlotte, four seamen killed, and one 
master's mate (David Coutts), one midshipman (Homsby 
Charles), and 30 seamen, marines, and soldiers wounded ; the 
Sans-Pareil, her second-lieutenant (Charles M. Stocker), second- 
lieutenant of marines (William Jephcott), and eight seamen and 
marines or soldiers killed, and, as far as tiie official returns show, 
only two midshipmen (Francis John Nott and Eichard Spencer) 
wounded ; the Colossus, five seamen, marines, and soldiers killed, 
and one lieutenant (Eobert Mends), one midshipman (John 
Whyley), and 28 seamen, marines, and soldiers wounded ; the 
Bussel, three seamen killed, and Captain Bacon of the 118th 
regiment, and nine seamen, marines, and soldiers wounded ; and 
the London and Eoyal George, one three, and the other seven 
seamen and marines wounded : total, 31 killed and 113 wounded.^ 

The three prizes were much shattered in their hulls, the 
Alexandre in particular. The loss sustained by the French 
ships, either separately or in the gross, has been omitted in the 
official account; but it otherwise appears that the three re- 
spectively lost as follows : Tigre, out of a complement, as de- 
posed by her officers, of 726 men and boys, 130 in killed and 
woimded together ; the Alexandre, out of a complement, owing 
to her greatly inferior size, of only 666, as many as 220 ; and 
the Formidable, out of a complement of 717, the still greater 
number of 320. Each ship's loss contained^ doubtless, a large 
proportion of officers ; but we are unable to particularize fur- 
ther than that the Formidable had three lieutenants killed ; 
Captain Linois (in the eye), her second captain, and three (being 

I Tho following statement shows the total iiuinerical loss sustained by each of the 
eight ships that were fortunate enough to get into action : — 

Irresistible killed, 


Queen Charlotte 





Royal George 

Total 31 113 

led, 3 woui 


, u 





10 , 











the remainder of her) Hentenants wounded. Nor can the slightest 
doubt remain, that the officers and men of all three Frendi 
ships conducted themselves in the bravest manner. 

Had the whole of the ships on each side been able to engage, 
the opposing forces would have stood thus : British, 14 sail of 
the line (including eight three-deckers), five frigates ; French, 
12 sail of the line (including one three-decker), 11 frigates. 
Two of these frigates were superior in size, and nearly equal in 
force, to almost any two of Lord Bridport's 74s. Still the dis- 
parity here shown excuses M. Villaret for declining to engage. 

With respect to three-decked ships of war, we may be allowed 
to remark that, unless of the first class in size and force, they 
are not so desirable in a fleet, particularly a chasing fleet, as 
first-class two-deckers. It is impossible to disguise their appear- 
ance, and their commanding height and three tiers of cannon fre- 
quently occasion an enemy, as in the case of the British 98s, for 
instance, to overrate their force and fly before them, a mode of 
escape seldom very difficult, owing to their usual slowness of 
sailing; whereas, a two-decked ship, like the Sans-Pareil, 
although larger every way but in height, and throwing full as 
heavy a broadside, is still only a two-decker, and is therefore 
permitted to approach until the enemy finds it too late to get 
beyond the reach of her guns. 

As soon as M. Villaret had recovered from his surprise at the 
unaccountable forbearance of Lord Bridport, he called a council 
of his admirals on board the Proserpine frigate, in which his flag 
was flying, to consult with them upon the propriety of anchoring 
on the coast so as best to resist the attack which he still con- 
jectured would be renewed against him, a8*soon as the British 
admiral had made the necessary arrangements for the purpose. 

Rear-admirals Kerguelen and Bruix both assured Admiral 
Villaret, that, if he adopted the measure, the whole of his fleet 
would be lost ; that the anchorage was very bad all along that 
coast ; that his cables would be cut by the rocks ; and that the 
British, having the weathergage, would cannonade his ships 
when they pleased, or probably send fireships to destroy them. 
These experienced officers advised the admiral to wait until the 
tide suited, and then enter the port of Lorient. Vice-admiral 
Villaret attended to these wise suggestions, and by 8 p.m. was 
at anchor in Lorient with the whole of his fleet except the three 
captured ships. 

One of the two officers, to whom the preservation of the 
French fleet was thus owing, expresses himself very pointedly 


on the manner in which Lord Bridport had terminated the action 
of the morning. ** Le combat cessa avant neuf heures du matin ; 
nous etions k une demie-lieue de Groix, lorsque les ennemis 
leverent la chasse. S'ils avaient bien manoeuvre, ils auraient pu, 
on prendre tons nos vaisseaux, ou les faire perir k la cote."* 
However, the affair was viewed differently in England, and Lord 
Bridport, Sir Alan Gardner, and Lord Hugh Seymour, three 
out of the five flag-ofl&cers present, received the thanks of 

We are at a loss to discover the reason of this selection. If 
it was meant to include the flag-ofl&cers of the ships which had 
the good fortune to get into action, why was the London's flag^ 
oflftcer. Sir John Colpoys, omitted? This appears almost as 
extraordinary as that the accidental absence of Rear-admiral 
Sir Eoger Curtis (he was attending Captain Molloy*s court- 
martial at Portsmouth) should have occasioned the Queen 
Charlotte, who, under Captain Sir Andrew Snape Douglas, had 
distinguished herself beyond any ship in the fleet, not only to be 
unrewarded by the thanks of parliament, but, a much less par- 
donable omission, to be unmentioned in Lord Bridport's ofl&cial 
despatch. The letter, indeed, is peculiarly meagre of thanks to 
any officers but those belonging to the Eoyal George ; the very 
ship on board of which the signal was made that eventually 
saved the French fleet, or the greater part of it, from capture. 
Lord Bridport applies the term *' fleet," properly enough, to the 
enemy's *' 12 sail of the line," but actually uses the diminutive 
term ** squadron," when he refers to his own force; and that, 
too, with seeming propriety, as he names no more than 10 out 
of his 14 line-of-battle ships. 

The French fleet being disposed of in the manner we have re- 
lated, the expedition to Quiberon proceeded fearlessly to its 
destination ; and Lord Bridport prepared to follow it as soon as 
he had despatched home the trophies of his victory. Of his 
three prizes, the Alexandre, or Alexander, as now again entitled 
to be called, was scarcely worth anything ; but the Tigre and 
Formidable were fine new 74s, similar in size to the Imp^tueux 
and America, captured by Earl Howe. The Tigre was allowed 
to retain her name ; but there being a Formidable 98 already in 
the service, the name of the Formidable 74, as if to perpetuate 
an acknowledged discreditable mistake, was changed to that of 
the island, close to which, instead of to Groix, the action wa« 
supposed to have been fought ; and both the Belle-Tsle and her 

1 Histoire des Evtoemens, &c par contr* amiral Kergoelen, p. 381. 


olassmate the Tigre, as British ships of war, we shall frequently 
have to name amidst the details that are to follow. We will now 
return to Sir John Warren's expedition ; of the snccess of which, 
since Lord Bridport's affair especially, the most sanguine hopes 
were entertained. 

On the 25th of June this famous expedition, consisting of the 
three line-of-battle ships already named, Bobust, Thunderer, 
and Standard, also of the frigates Pomone, bearing Sir John's 
broad pendant, Anson, Artois, Arethusa, Concorde, and Galatea, 
and 50 sail of transports, with about 2500 French emigrants on 
board, commanded by the Comte de Pnisaye, and assisted by 
the Comtes d'Hervilly and de Sombreuil, entered the bay of 
Qniberon, considered to be one of the finest on the coast of 
France for landing an army. It possesses a capacious and 
secure anchorage of nearly six miles in extent, beyond the reach 
of shot or shell, and is protected from westerly and south-west 
gales by the peninsula of Qniberon, the small but fruitful islands 
of Hoedic and Houat, and the Cardinal rocks. 

On the 27th, at daybreak, the troops were landed near the 
village of Cramao, without the loss of a man ; and without 
being opposed, except by about 200 republicans, who were 
driven back with some slaughter. Arms and ammunition for 
16,000 royalists, who had joined the emigrants, were now 
landed from the ships; and the troops were cantoned among 
the inhabitants. 

An attack on the peninsula of Quiberon having been pro- 
jected, Sir John Warren disembarked 2000 royalists and 500 
emigrants, together with 300 British marines. Fort Penthievre, 
situated on a commanding eminence on the northern extremity 
of the peninsula, being invested on the other side by the Comte 
d'Hervilly, at the head of about 8000 royalists and emigrants, 
and having a garrison of only 600 men, surrendered. Stores and 
provisions were here landed in abundance ; and the emigrants, 
royalists, and Chouans, fared sumptuously. 

On the night of the 16th of July the Comte d'Hervilly, at the 
head of about 5000 men, including 200 British marines, made 
an unsuccessful attack on the right flank of General Hoche's 
army, strongly posted on the heights of St. Barbe. In this 
affair the comte, a brave and active officer, was badly wounded, 
and the emigrant troops were only enabled to make good their 
retreat to the fort in consequence of the unremitting fire kept 
up by five British launches, armed each with an 18 or 24 pounder 
carronade, and stationed close to the beach. 


Desertion now daily thinned the royalist ranks, and treachery 
was at work in every quarter of the garrison. Matters con- 
tinued growing worse until the night of the 20th, when, amidst 
the howling of the storm and the pelting of the rain, and amidst 
a darkness, too, as black as the deeds that were agitating, a 
party of emigrant soldiers who were on guard deserted, and 
quickly conducted back to the fort a large body of republican 
troops. In an instant all within was confusion. While the 
faithful were staining the ground with their blood, the timorous 
laid down their arms and joined the assailants in the cry of 
Vive la republique I and the traitorous turned round and mas- 
sacred their officers, and such of their comrades, too, as did not 
at once re-echo the republican war-whoop. About 1100 troops, 
led by Puisaye, hastened to the shore, and there awaited the 
return of daylight to escape to the shipping. Others, headed 
by the brave Sombreuil, resisted to the last, and finally obtamed 
terms of capitulation. 

In direct violation of those terms, however, the whole of the 
officers and men that had surrendered were marched as prisoners 
to Nantes. There, after being tried by a military tribunal, the 
young and amiable Comte de Sombreuil, the Bishop of Dol, and 
several other emigrants of distinction, were shot : the remainder, 
being chiefly privates, sought refuge in the ranks of the inhuman 
General le Moine. 

Early on the morning (the 21st) succeeding the reduction of 
the fort, the British frigates, which on account of the gale and 
extreme darknefss had been unable to approach the shore during 
the night, worked up to the south-east point of the peninsula, 
and there received on board, by means of the boats of the squa- 
dron, under the able direction of Captain Bichard Goodwin 
Keats of the Galatea, the Comte de Puisaye and his 1100 
trooi)6, besides about 2400 royalist inhabitants ; leaving behind, 
however, for the use of the republicans, 10,000 stands of arms, 
150,000 pairs of shoes, and magazines and clothing for an army 
of 40,000 men. 

To add to the mishaps of this ill-£a.ted expedition, six trans- 
ports that had arrived the evening previous to the disgraceful 
treachery at the fort, laden with rum, brandy, and provisions, 
fell also into the hands of the republicans. What was the ex- 
tent of the loss in men sustained by the detachment of British 
marines that was landed does not appear to have been made 

Sir John Warren next proceeded to the small islands of 


Hoeclic and Houat, of which he took quiet possession. He after- 
wards disembarked near to Lorient, at their own request, 2000 
of the Choiians brought from Quiberon. He also detached the 
Standard 64 and a frigate or two to summon the governor of 
Belle-Tsle, which lies about five leagues to the westward, to 
deliver up the island for the use of Louis XVIII. Captain 
Ellison, to his very long letter on the subject, received from 
General Boucret a very laconic reply, the purport of which 
was, that, being well supplied wjth provisions and artillery, he, 
the general, was ready for the English fleet whenever it chose 
to come. 

Sir John himself, in the meanwhile, having left a few frigates 
to keep the command of the anchorage at the islands of Hoedic 
and Houat, and cover, if necessary, the retreat of the garrisons, 
had proceeded to the island of Noirmoutier at the mouth of the 
Loire ; but the republicans, who had recently dispossessed of 
that island the royalist General Charette, were too well prepared 
to warrant an attack by so inferior a force. After destroying two 
or three small armed vessels, the commodore contented himself 
with taking possession of Isle dTeu, a small island about five 
leagues to the southward of Noirmoutier. 

In the beginning of October Sir John was joined at Isle 
d'Yeu by the 38-gun frigate Jason, Captain Charles Stirling, 
escorting a fleet of transports, containing 4000 British troops 
under the command of Major-general Doyle. On board of the 
Jason had also arrived the Comte d'Artois, the Due de Bourbon, 
and several other French noblemen. The troops were landed on 
the island, along with a great quantity of military stores, cloth- 
ing, and provisions ; but no use was, or, in the desperate situa- 
tion of the royalist cause, could be, made of this force. Accord- 
ingly, at the close of the year. Isle d*Yeu was evacuated, and the 
troops, after remaining in a state of inactivity for nearly three 
months, were re-embarked on bpard the transports and carried 
back to England. 

Lord Bridport continued at sea hovering off the coast where the 
unfortunate Quiberon expedition was frittering away its strength, 
until the 20th September, when the admiral returned to Spithead 
with two or three of his ships, leaving Rear-admiral Harvey, with 
the remainder of the Channel fleet, to watch the motions of 
the French at Brest and Lorient. The ships in the latter port 
having, as stated before, quitted Brest with only 15 days* pro- 
visions on board, had been compelled, owing to the poverty of 
the place, to discharge the principal part of thefr crews ; disease 


and desertion had gradually thinned the remainder. Towards 
the end of the year, when the severity of the season obliged the 
blockading ships to keep farther in the oflfing, several of the 
ships at Lorient made an effort to escape from so ill-provided a 
port, and, by coasting it at favourable opportunities, contrived to 
reach Brest in safety : two or three others, we believe, shifted 
their quarters to Eochefort. 

On the 17th and 18th of November the English Channel was 
visited by a westerly gale of such extraordinary violence, as 
scarcely to fall short of a West Indian hurricane. Rear-ad- 
miral Christian, with a squadron of eight sail of the line, having 
in charge a fleet of 200 transports and West Indiamen with up- 
wards of 16,000 troops on board, was compelled to return to 
Spithead, after having had the ships of his convoy, with 
which he had quitted St. Helen's only a day or two before, 
scattered in every direction. Several of the transports and 
merchantmen foundered, and others went on shore and were 
wrecked. Above 200 dead bodies were taken up between 
Portland and Bridport. While the gale was at its height the 
shock of an earthquake was felt in several parts of the kingdom. 
The repairs of the squadron and remaining ships of the convoy 
made it the 5th of December before the rear-admiral could 
again put to sea ; but the fleet was again separated in a dread- 
ful storm, which continued for two or three weeks. 

Among the ships that nearly became the grave of her crew 
in the first of these disasters was the late French three-decker 
Commerce-de -Marseille. Having been found so badly timbered 
and so greatly out of order as not to be worth the cost of a 
thorough repair, she remained at anchor at Spithead until the 
autumn of the present year; she then underwent a partial 
repair and was armed and equipped for sea. Shortly afterwards, 
however, the guns on her first and second decks were sent on 
shore again, and the ports caulked up ; and, fitted as a store- 
ship, the Commerce-de-Marseille, drawing at the time 29 feet 
water, formed part of Rear-admiral Christian's expedition to the 
West Indies. In the gale, the partial effects of which we have 
just described, this castle of a store-ship was driven back to 
Portsmouth ; and, from the rickety state of her upper works, and 
the great weight of her lading, it was considered a miracle that 
she escaped foundering. The Commerce-de-Marseille relanded 
her immense cargo, and never went out of harbour again ; but 
the ship was not taken to pieces, and consequently remained on 
the lists of the navy until the month of August, 1802. 


On the 16th of Jannary, while the British Mediterranean fleet 
of 15 sail of the line and frigates, still under the command of 
Vice-admiral Hotham, was riding at anchor in San Fiorenzo 
bay (island of Corsica), in a heavy cross swell, the eflfect of a 
recent gale of wind, the 74-gun ship Berwick, Captain William 
Smith, then under refit, with her lower masts stripped of their 
rigging, rolled all three over the side. The captain, first-lien- 
tenant, and master were immediately tried by a court-martial ; 
and it appearing that the proper precaution had not been taken 
in securing the masts, all three officers were dismissed the ship. 
Having appointed Captain Adam Littlejohn to command the 
Berwick, and directed him to follow as soon as he had rigged 
his ship with jury-masts, Vice-admiral Hotham made sail for 
Leghorn road, a step, we must be permitted to pronounce, not 
quite so prudent as if the vice-admiral had deferred his depar- 
ture until the disabled ship was able to accompany the fleet ; a 
delay which, considering that it was only necessary to place the 
Berwick in a state to be taken in tow, could not, with the accus- 
tomed alacrity of British seamen, have extended much beyond 
the period of a day. 

By great exertions during the winter in repairing the old 
ships and in expediting the new 74, the Barras, left on the 
stocks by the British at their evacuation of the port in December, 
1793, the French in Toulon got ready for sea, by the latter end 
of February, the following fifteen sail of the line : — 

Gun-ship. Gun-ship. Gun-ship. 

74 { Conquerant. 

Frigates, Minerve, Alceste, Artemise, Courageuse, Friponne, and Vestale, 
and two brig-corvettes. 

With the four first-named frigates and the two 28-gun frigates 
Badine and Brune, chef de division Perr6e, had on the 7th of 
January returned from a very successful cruise in the Mediter- 
ranean. He is represented to have captured a frigate (not from 
the British, certainly) and two corvettes, forming a part of those 
taken from Toulon (untrue : the Scout and Speedy brigs were 
the only British ** corvettes" captured in the Mediterranean in 
the year 1794), also 25 merchant vessels richly laden, and to have 
brought into port as many as 600 prisoners. 

As soon as intelligence reached Toulon that the British fleet 

120 Sans-Culotte. 
74 Alcide. 




74 { Mercure. 



had quitted the shores of Corsica and retired to the road of 
Leghorn, the utmost exertions were made to get ready the long«- 
meditated expedition for attemptmg the recovery of that island. 
The troops, about 5000 in number, being at length embarked in 
due proportions on board the different ships. On board the 
Sans-Culotte there was embarked what in those days was con- 
sidered the necessary appendage to a French fleet, a spy or 
deputy irom the National Convention, and Rear-admiral Martin 
on the 3rd of March weighed and put to sea with his 15 sail of 
the line and six frigates. On the 7th at daybreak, after a suc- 
cession of north-easterly gales, which had partiidly dismasted 
two of the ships, the fleet gained a sight of the island to which 
it was bound. At 7 a.m., when within five leagues of Cape 
Corse, the advanced frigates discovered to leeward, standing out 
of the Bay of San-Fiorenzo, where she had been detained by foul 
winds until the preceding morning, the jury-rigged Berwick, 
making the best of her way to Leghorn. 

All sail was immediately set, on the part of the French, for 
pursuit, and the moment Captain Littlejohn, by the usual mode 
of signalling, had ascertained that the strange fleet was not, 
what by its colours it purported to be, Spanish, he used every 
means to effect his escape. The crippled state of the Berwick 
greatly retarded her progress ; and at 11 a.m., when close off 
Cape Corse, the Alceste frigate. Captain Lejoille, passed to 
leewaad, under Spanish colours, but changed them to French as 
she opened her fire, within musket-shot, on the 74's lee bow. 
The Minerve and Vestale presently took their stations on the 
Berwick's quarter ; and it was not long, according to the British 
account, before one or two of the headmost line-of-battle ships 
joined in the carronade. 

In the hope that Vice-admiral Hotham's fleet might have put 
to sea, the Berwick kept a steady course for Leghorn ; but, 
before noon, her rigging was cut to pieces, and every sail in 
ribands. Just as the Berwick had punished the temerity of the 
Alceste by a broadside that is represented to have disabled her, 
a bar-shot took off Captain Littlejohn's head. The command 
then devolved upon Lieutenant Nesbit Palmer ; who, consider- 
ing all further resistance useless, and having, it is said, obtained 
the concurrence of his officers, ordered the Berwick's colours to 
be struck. 

On board the Berwick four seamen were wounded, but the 
captain was the only person killed. So small a loss was attri- 
buted to the high firing of the French ; who, making sure of 




the Berwick's capture, and wanting such a ship entire in their 
fleet, were wise enough to do as little injury a8 possible to her 
hull. The Alceste lost, by the Berwick's fire, her captain, 
another officer, and six seamen wounded, but none killed. It 
does not appear that the two other' frigates sustained any loss. 
According to the French accounts, the three frigates were all 
that engaged the Berwick, and the action continued from first to 
last very little more than a quarter of an hour. 

The Berwick's officers and crew were distributed among the 
different ships, without being allowed to take any clothes ex- 
cept those on their backs, and were, in every other respect, 
most shamefully treated. On their subsequent enlargement 
and return home, they were tried by a court-martial for the loss 
of their ship, and honourably acquitted. 

On the 8th Yice-admiral Hotham, who with the British fleet 
composed of the 


100 Britannia 




Princess Ro3ral 
St. George 

Windsor Castle 

'■ Tancredi . 
Fortitude . 
Illustrious . 
Courageox . 
^ Bedford 

J Agamemnon 

\ Diadem 

fVice-adm. (r.) William Hotham, 

\ Captain John Hollo way, 

j Vice-adm. (w.) Sara. Cranst. Goodiill, 

(Captain John Child Purvis, 

(Vice-adm. (b.) Sir Hyde Parker, 

(Captain Thomas Foley, 

j Rear-adm. (r.) Robert Linzee, 

(Captain John Goi*e, 

Chevalier Caraccioji, NeapoliUnif 

Samuel Reeve, 

William Young, 

Thomas Lennox Frederick, 

George Campbell, 

Augustus Montgomery, 

Davidge Gould, 

Horatio Nelson, 








Charles Tyler, 

Frigates, Pilade and Minerva, NeapoUtany and Inconstant, Lowestoffe, 
Meleager, and Romulus, also two sloops, and one cutter, British, 

was lying in Leghorn roads, received intelligence, by express 
from Genoa, that the French fleet, composed of fifteen sail of 
the line, besides frigates, had two days before been seen off" the 
islands of Sainte-Marguerite. Shortly afterwards the British 
ship- sloop Moselle appeared in the oflSng, with the signal for a 
fleet in the north-west ; which fleet, according to the report of 
the Moselle when she entered the road, was steering to the 
southward. The British fleet instantly unmoored ; and at day- 


break on the following day, the 9th, weighed and put to sea with 
a strong breeze from the east-north-east. 

Having no doubt that the strange fleet was from Toulon, and 
judging, from its alleged course when seen by the Moselle on 
the 6th, its destination to be Corsica, Vice-admiral Hotham 
shaped his course for that island ; having previously despatched 
the Tarleton brig to San-Fiorenzo, with orders for the Berwick 
to join him off Cape Corse. In the course of the night the brig 
returned to the fleet, with the unwelcome intelligence of the 
Berwick's capture ; and, as we conjecture, with some informa- 
tion that led the vice-admiral to steer to the' north-west, instead 
of towards Corsica as he had at first intended. This alteration 
jn the course soon began to show its beneficial effects ; for on 
the very next day, the 10th, the advanced British frigates gained 
a distant sight of the French fleet, standing towards the land in 
the direction of Cape Noli ; that is, working its way back to 
Toulon against a south-west wind, to avoid an encounter with 
the British fleet, which, the Berwick's people had doubtless in- 
formed the French admiral and deputy, was likely to have put 
to sea from Leghorn road. Yet the " committee of public safety," 
in its report to the National Convention, insisted that the only 
object (it being the policy of the French government to C9nceal 
the intended attack upon Corsica) of the fleet's sailing was, "to 
seek the enemy, fight the English wherever they could be found, 
drive them out of the Mediterranean, and restore for that sea a 
free navigation." 

On the 11th, in the afternoon, the French fleet, counted at 15 
sail of the line, six frigates, and two brigs, was descried in the 
south or windward quarter by the Princess Eoyal and several 
ships then near her, and which ships were distant between five 
and six miles from their main body. On the 12th, at daylight, 
the French fleet again made its appearance, and presently bore 
up as if to reconnoitre. On arriving within about three miles of 
the Princess TJoyal, the French van-ship hauled to the wind on 
the larboard tack, and was followed, in succession, by her com- 
panions astern. At this time, owing to the lightness of the 
wind and a heavy swell from the westward, none of the ships 
could make much progress. Towards evening, however, a fresh 
breeze sprung up from the south-west, and the British ships 
took advantage of it to close each other and form in order of 
battle, with their heads to the westward. At sunset the ex- 
tremes of the French fleet bore from the British van west and 
south-west by south. 


Daring the night, which was very squally, the French 74 
Mercure carried away her maintopmast, and was permitted to 
part company, attended by a frigate. Subsequently the two 
ships reached in safety the anchorage in Gourjean bay, and 
found lying there the prize- ship Berwick, attended also by a 
frigate, and then on her way to Toulon to get refitted. 

On the 13th, at daylight, or soon after, the French admiral 
evincing no intention of bearing down to engage, Vice-admiral 
Hotham tlircw out the signal for a general chase, which was 
promptly complied with, the wind at this time blowing very 
fresh, attended with frequent squalls. At 8 a.m. the French 
80-gun ship Ca-Ira, the third ship from the rear, accidentally 
ran foul of her second ahead, the Victoire, also of 80 guns, aad, 
besides doing some damage to the latter, carried away her own 
fore and main topmasts. 

So fine an opportunity was not lost upon Captain Thomas 
Francis Freeman tie, then, with the 36-gun frigate Inconstant, 
far advanced in the chase. At about 9 a.m. this frigate, ranging 
up within musket-shot on the larboard qmirter of the French 80, 
gave her a broadside and stood on. The French frigate A'estale 
presently bore down, and, after firing several distant broadsides 
at the Inconstant as she ran by her, took the Ca Ira in tow. 
Having tacked, the Inconstant again passed under the lee of the 
two-decker, and fired into her. The latter, however, having by 
this time cleared the wreck of her topmasts from her larboard 
side, opened a heavy fire from her lowerdeck guns ; which killed 
three, and wounded 14, of the Inconstant* s men. One of the 
shots, a 36-pounder, struck the frigate between wind and water, 
and compelled her to bear up. 

At 10 h. 45 m. a.m. tlie Agamemnon got upon the quarter of 
the Ca-Ira, still in tow by the Vestale, and, aided for a short 
time by the Captain, continued a distant engagement with the 
crippled 80, until about 2 h. 15 m. p.m. ; when, several of the 
French ships bearing down to the protection of their disabled 
companion, the Agamemnon ceased firing, and dropped into her 
station in the line. In the mean time a partial filing had been 
kept up, by the Bedford and Egniont on one side, and, on the 
other, by the three rearmost French ships, one of wliich was the 
Timoleon of 74, and another the Sans-Culotte of 120 gims ; but 
the action terminated, for that day, after the Agamemnon had 
bore up. 

Rear-admiral Martin and Deputy Letoumeur, who, for the 
alleged pui-pose of better directing the maoeuvres of the fleet, 


had removed from the regular flag^ship, the Sans-Culotte, to the 
frigate Friponne, not considering, probably, their one three, and 
13 two deckers able to cope with Vice-admiral Hotham's four 
three, and 11 two deckers, put about on the larboard tack, and 
kept close to the wind, which now blew moderately from the 
south-south-east, under all sail, followed by the British fleet on 
the larboard line of bearing, as fast as four or five heavy work- 
ing ships would permit. By some accident, or, as the French 
accounts allege, by some mismanagement on her part, the Sans- 
Culotte, in the course of thfe night, separated from her compa- 
nions. The French were thus left without a single three-decked 
ship in their fleet, to oppose to the four plainly visible in the 
fleet that was chasing them. 

On the 14th, at daybreak, Genoa bearing north-east, distant 
about seven leagues, the French fleet was again descried to the 
westward, standing as before, on the larboard tack, with a mo- 
derate breeze from the southward. During the night the Vestale 
had given up the chai'ge of the Ca-Ira to the Censeur 74 ; and 
the latter, with her dismasted companion in tow, was a consi- 
derable distance astern and to leeward of the French line. 

At about 5 h. 30 m. a.m. a breeze sprang up from the north- 
west, which brought the British fleet to windward. At 6 h. 30 m. 
A.M. the Captain and Bedford, having been ordered by signal, 
stood for and engaged the two separated French ships ; both of 
whom opened their fire as the two British 748 bore down to 
attack them. 

Being some distance ahead of the Bedford, the Captain had to 
sustain the united broadsides of the French 80 and 74 for the 
space of 15 minutes ere she was in a situation to return a shot 
with efifect. Tlie consequence was that, when the firing, includ- 
ing that period, had lasted one hour and 20 minutes, the Captain 
had all her sails cut to pieces, her fore and main stay, topmast 
stays, three fourths of the shrouds, and all the running rigging, 
shot away, her fore and mizen yards, and fore and main topmasts, 
disabled, some shot in the mainmast, and several in the hull, a 
lowerdeck gun split, several carriages broken, and all her boats 
rendered unserviceable. Being thus reduced to an unmanage- 
able state, the Captain made a signal for assistance, and was 
towed clear of her opponents. 

The I^dford, also, having had her standing and running rig- 
ging and sails much cut, her foremast, fore-yard, bowsprit, main- 
topsail yard, and mizen topmast shot through, and the poles of 
the fore and main topgallantmasts shot entirely away, was 


oqnally obliged to discontiime the eagagement and suffer herself 
to be towed ont of the line. 

In this smart affau* with the Ca-Ira and Censenr, the Captain 
had three men killed, her first-lieutenant (Wilson Bathbone), 
master 0^^^'^^-™ Hnnter), and seven seamen wonnded, two of 
them mortally ; and the Bedford had six seamen and one marine 
killed, her first-lientenant (Thomas Miles), 14 seamen, and three 
marines wonnded. The two French ships also suffered consider- 
ably in hull, masts, and men, and were both reduced to nearly 
a defenceless state. 

Since the beginning of this partial engagement with his rear, 
the French admiral had made a signal for the fleet to wear in 
succession and form the line upon his van-ship, the Dnquesne ; 
intending to pass, on the starboard tack, to leeward of the 
British line then on the contrary tack, and to windward of the 
Ca-Ira and Censeur, so as to cover the latter from the fire of the 
Illustrions and Courageux, who, having made sail to support 
the Captain and Bedford, were now far ahead and rather to 
leeward of their line. 

Owing to the lightness of the wind, the Duqnesne was some 
time in coming round on the starboard tack. It was about this 
time, when almost every ship in the two fleets was in an un- 
governable state for the want of wind, that the Lowestoffe found 
herself lying with her starboard quarter and stem exposed, at a 
long-gun range, to the larboard broadside of the Dnquesne ; 
who, opening her lowerdeck ports, commenced a fire upon the 
British frigate. Not being in a position to discharge a gun in 
return. Captain Hallowell judiciously ordered all his crew, 
except the officers and the man at the wheel, to go below ; so 
tJiat, when the large and beautiful Neapolitan frigate Minerva, 
as she drifted near to the Dnquesne, took off the attention of 
the French crew from the Lowestoffe, the latter had not a man 
hurt : her stem and sails, however, were a good deal cut, by 
the 74's shot. At length the Dnquesne got round on the star- 
board tack, and then, instead of leading her line, as she had 
been ordered by the signal, to leeward, the French 74 passed 
to windward, of the British van-ships. 

At 8 A.M. the Dlustrious began, within about 600 yards, to 
engage the Dnquesne and Yictoire in succession, when a third 
ship, the Tonnant, joined against her; and with the three 
French ships, two of which were 80s, the Illustrious and Coura- 
geux kept up a warm cannonade. At 9 a.m. the foretopmast 
of the Illustrious went over the starboard bow ; and at 9 h. 15 m. 



A.M. her mainmast fell aft on the poop, carrying away the mizen- 
mast, and breaking the beams of the poop deck. Her foremast 
and bowsprit were also dangerously wounded, and her hull 
pierced with shqtin every direction. The Courageux, also, had 
her main and mizen masts shot away, and her hull much 

The three French ships, at length, passing ahead, and, in 
consequence of the calm state of the weather, not being closely 
followed by the remainder of their line, the Illustrious and 
Courageux were fortunate enough (their friends having, in like 
manner, been retarded by the want of wind) to be no longer 
assailed by a force, the decided superiority of which must soon 
either have sunk or subdued them; as, coupled with their 
damages, the following account of their loss'will testify : — The 
Illustrious had 15 seamen and five marines killed, one midship- 
man (Mr. Moore), 68 seamen, and one marine wounded ; the 
Courageux, one midshipman (Mr. Coleman), eight seamen, and 
six marines killed ; her master (Mr. Blackburn), 21 seamen, and 
11 marines wounded. 

The Duquesne, Victoire, and Tonnant, after exchanging a few 
shots with the British ships astern of their two crippled oppo- 
nents, abandoned the Ca-Ira and Censeur to their fate, and, 
followed by the ships astern, which a light air of wind was now 
bringing up, stood away to the westward under all sail. The 
firing, which, as we have shown, had conmienced at 6 h. 20 m, 
A.M., ceased altogether about 2 p.m. ; at which time Vice- 
admiral Hotham, considering that his van-ships were not in a 
condition to renew the action, and still impressed, we suppose, 
with the idea that the French fleet consisted of 15 sail of the 
line, did not tack in pursuit : hence, the two fleets, steering in 
opposite directions, were soon so far separated as to be mutually 
out of sight. 

None of the British ships sustained any damage or loss equal 
in extent to the Captain, Bedford, Illustrious, and Courageux ; 
and the greater part of the Egmont's loss, which, except that of 
the Windsor Castle, was the most severe of any suflfered by the 
remaining British ships, arose fi'om the bursting of one of her 
lowerdeck guns. The Neapolitan 74 Tancredi received several 
shots between wind and water, and had her foremast injured : 
her loss amounted to one killed and five wounded. The fingate 
Minerva, belonging to the same power, was struck by three of 
the Carlra's shots : one entered the cabin- window, and wounded 
four men, the only loss the frigate suffered ; another lodged in, 

VOL. I. u 




the counter between wind and water ; and the third cut away 
a considerable quantity of lower rigging. 

The Windsor Oastle had six seamen killed, one lieutenant 
(Thomas Hawker), and 30 seamen and marines wounded: 
Egmont, seyen killed and 21 wounded; Saipt Greorge, four 
killed and 13, including Lieutenant Eobert Honeyman, 
wounded ; Princess Boyal, three killed and eight wounded ; 
Diadem, three killed and seven wounded ; Britannia, one killed 
and 18 wounded; Fortitude, one killed and four wounded; 
Terrible, six, and Agamemnon, 13, including her master, John 
Wilson, wounded: making, with the loss of the Inconstant, 
Captain, Bedford, Illustrious, Courageux, Tancredi, and Mi** 
nerva frigate, already given, a total of 74 killed, and 284 

Of the French ships, the Ca-Ira and Censeur made a most 
gallant resistance; not surrendering until the latter had her 
mainmast, and the former (from the first, as we have seen, with* 
out topmasts) her fore and main masts shot away. Their cap* 
tains, Jean-F^ix Benoit, and Louis-Marie Goude, merited 
every praise ; and so did their officers and crews. Having, in 
addition to their regular complements, a quantity of troops on 
board, the united loss of these ships in the action was about 400 
men. The Duquesne, Yictoire, Tonnant, and Timoleon, ateo 

^ The following •tatement will exhibit the separate loss of each ship, and other par> 
ticulars, including the order of battle, as laid dow-u in the ofiicial letter .• — 









Ships of Ihe Line. 

Captain . 

Bedford . 

Taacredi (Neapolitan) 

Prtnoess Royal (flag) 

Agamemnon . 



Britannia (flag) , 

Eniiont . 

Windsor Castle (flag) 

Diadem . 

Sidnt George (flag) . 

Terrible . 




Minerva . 


16 IS 
































sustained some loss, x)articiilar1y the second and last shjps ; but 
we are unable to specify its amount. • Much damage was like- 
wise done to the Timol^on and Victoire, to the latter in particu- 
lar ; and the credit of inflicting it, as well as what the Tonnant 
and Duquesne may have suffered, belonged almost exclusively 
to the Illustrious and Courageux. 

This not being an action of a very decisive or important 
nature, it will be unnecessary to enter minutely into the for(5e on 
either side. A general view, however, may be desirable, and 
that we can readily present. None of the British ships appear- 
ing to have been ordered any carronades, their long-gun force, 
as specified in the First Annual Abstract, will suffice. With re- 
spect to the Neapolitan 74 Tancredi, we shall consider her to 
have been armed with the same nominal calibers, as the French 
74, No. 4, in the table at p. 59 ; and, in reducing the weight into 
English pounds, shall apply the rule (see p. 48) laid down f©r 
Spanish guns. Hence, the Tancredi's broadside weight of shot 
will be 849 pounds EngUsh : her number of tons we shall con 
sider to be 1800. The Britannia moimted 42-pounders on her 
lower deck : her broadside weight of metal consequently aikiounts 
to 280 pounds more than what stands as the force of her class at 
E in the First Annual Abstract. 

The French Toulon ships do not appear to have mounted, as 
yet, any oarromades. Their force is therefore readily obtained, 
by a referenoe to the establishment of each class, as shown in 
the small table to which we have before referred. The French 
fleet, in this instance, had troops on board, in number, according 
to the British official account, 4220. As, however, the principal 
officers of the Ca-Ira and Censeur swore, on their examination 
in the prize-court, that the total number of persons on board 
their respective ships, at the commencement of the action, 
amounted, instead of, as in the official accoimt, 1300 for each 
ship of 80, and 1000 for each ship of 74 guns, in tlie Oa-Ira t» 
10(30, aiid in the Censeur to 921, the probability is, that the 
troops did not much exceed 3400 ; and there can be no doubt 
that the French naval officers, on going into action, wished the 
troops and the baggage out of the ships. It will be to the 
advantage of the British not to notice the troops at all, but to 
consider the French ships as having had on board their full 
complements of men, and no more, lliese complements appear 
also to be overrated in the British admiral's letter : the establish- 
mont of a French 120 is, in round numbers, 1100 men, of an 
80, 840 men, and of a 74, 700 men ; and not 1200, 950, and 730. 





The toimageB of the French ships may be stated, at 2600 for 
the 120, an estimate that makes her 147 tons less than her re- 
puted sister-ship, the Commerce-de-Marseille ; at 2210 tons, as 
the actual measurement of one, and a moderate average for 
another 80 ; at 2281, as the actual measurement of the third 80; 
and at 19,711 tons, for the eleven 74s, part of them by actual 
measurement, the remainder upon a fair average. These points 
settled, the following statement will exhibit a tolerably correct 
view of the 

Comparative Force of the Ttoo Fleets, 

Ships . 


Crews . , 
Size . 

. No. 

• Ubs. 
Agg. No. 

> » 


BRmsH. , 


March. ' 


12, 13, 
& 14. 

























Those who recollect the boasting of the French Bepnblic, al 
this particular time, may be surprised that Eear-admiral Martin 
and M. Deputy Letoumeur did not bear down to enga|pe on the 
iirst day, whatever they may have done on the second, when the 
French had lost one ship by parting company, and another, it 
may be said, by getting dismasted ; or, on the third day, when 
they had lost the weather-gage, and a third ship, by fieurtitie most 
powerful in the fleet. 

It may here be remarked, that, according to a list in Ihe 
British official account, the Sans-Culotte and Mercure were both 
present on the 14th of March; yet not only are the French 
accounts clear on that point, but no notice is taken in the log 
of any one of the British ships of the sight of an enemy's three- 
decked ship after the evening of the 13th. Yet a periodical 
naval work of some notoriety contains the following statement: 
* * The Sans-Culotte was so severely handled by him (Captain 
Frederick of the Courageux) and others, that it was the princi- 
pal cause of her quitting her own fleet, and (she) with difficulty 
reached Genoa, during a heavy gale that succeeded the action.^ 

To enumerate the instances of want of precision discoverable 
in Yice-admiral Hotham's letter would be to enter again into 

1 Naval Chronicle, vol xxxvii., p. 364. 


the details of an action of which enough has abeady appeared. 
Suffice it, that one Engh'sh writer, finding nothing but confusion 
in the gazette account, and not knowing, seemingly, where else 
to search for particulars, has drawn up a very brief, but not the 
less obscure account of the battle ; and another writer, although 
obliged to confess himself unable to comprehend on wTiich tack 
either fleet was formed, has persisted in giving three sets of 
figures descriptive of the evolutions of the two.* 

The French naval writers, very naturally, lay all the blame of 
what befel their fleet to the conventional deputy who was on 
board of it; ^and one writer makes *M. Letoumeur*s surname 
"de la Manche," or "of the Chamiel," the butt of his wit, in 
saying, that it ** appeared to, be a pledge of knowledge in the 
direction of a fleet, but now seems only to denote a countryman 
of the hero of Cervantes."* One thing is clear, that there was 
no landman to control the movements of the British fleet ; and 
yet who, from a review of all the circumstances, will say that 
the commander-in-chief of it did all that was practicable ? 
However, the capture of two line-of-battle ships, and the supe- 
riority of force against the British in the statement at the foot 
of the gazette letter, occasioned Vice admiral Hotham's action 
off Genoa to rank, in public opinion, as a sort of second-rate 

Taking in tow his dismasted ships, including the two prizes, 
the British admiral bore away for Spezia bay. On the night of 
the 17th the .Illustrious, and the Meleager frigate that had her 
in tow, separated from the fleet in a violent gale of wind from 
the south-east. Shortly afterwards the hawser parted, and 
being unable, on account of the heavy sea and increasing gale, 
to send a fresh tow-rope to the frigate, the Ilhistrious hove to. 
The ship now laboured very much, and shipped a great deal of 
water through the lowerdeck ports, many of the lids of which 
had been damaged or destroyed in the action : her jury mizen- 
mast also went by the board, and most of her sails blew to 
pieces. At daylight on the 18th land was seen ahead, but it 
could not be made out. To avoid the threatened danger, the 
two ships put their head to the eastward, which brought them 
on the starboard tack, 

1 Gkins'B Naval Batties, p. 196 and ne designer qu'nn oompatriote dn h^roe 

plate. de OrvanteB." — Primcipes Organiquea de 

'^ " Ija convention nomma \ ee poste la Marine Mxlitaire, et Causes de sa />e> 

Letourneur de la Manehe, dont le ^urnom cadence dans la demiire Guerre, par 

parut un gage de science dans la direction Finiere. 
d'une arm^ navale, et temble a^Jourd'hol 


At aboat noon the Meleager parted company ; and at 1 b. 
30 m. P.M. the third gun from forward on the larboard side of 
the lower deck of the IllustrioaB went o£f, from the friction of 
the shot in the gun, blew off the port-lid, and cajried away the 
upper port-sill. Unable to continue on this tack, owing to the 
rush of water through the open port, or to put about on the other 
on account of the proximity of breakers in that direction, the 
Illustrious wore until the port was secured, and then, hauling 
up again, as well as the want of aftersail would permit, and laid 
up north. 

At about 2 P.M. the Illustrious made the land to the eastward 
of the gulf of Spezia, and at 2 h. 30 m.. Captain Frederick gaye 
charge of the ship to a man on board, who declared himself a 
pilot for that part of the coast, and promised to anchor the 
Illustrious in safety. At 7 h. 30 m. p.m., shoaling the water 
unexpectedly. Captain Frederick ordered the anchor to be let 
go, and yeered to a whole cable : the ship was then in Valenoe 
bay, situated between Spezia and Leghorn. Just as this was 
done, the Illustrious struck the ground abaffc, and the cable by 
which she had till then been held, and another employed to sup- 
ply its place, parted successiyely. The previously damaged 
state of the stocks of the sheet and spare anchors rendering it 
impossible to let go a third anchor, the ship paid round off in- 
shore, and, although the wind had moderated since 6 p.m., the 
sea made a fair breach oyer her. At 10 p.m. it began to blow 
hard from the west-south-west, and at 10 h. 30 m. p.m., owing 
to the heayy shocks which thq ship receiyed, the rudder was 
carried away. 

Soon after daylight on the 19th attempts were made to get a 
hawser on shore, then only half a mile distant, with the view of 
saying the people by a raft, but without success. In the eyen- 
ing the brig-sloop Tarleton, Captain Charles Brisbane, arriyed, 
and anchored near the wreck, but the weather would not admit 
the passage of boats. On the 20th, in the morning, the Lowe- 
stoffe frigate. Captain Benjeunin Hallowell, arriyed ; and shortly 
afterwards the Romulus, Captain George Hope, toge1±ier yrith 
the launches of the British fleet, then at anchor in Spesia bay. 
At length, the crew and principal part of the stores haying been 
removed to the vessels in company, the hull of the Illustrious was 
set on fire and destroyed. 

On the 25th, after some partial repairs done to the disabled 
ships, the fleet weighed from Spezia bay, and on the 26th cast 
anchor in the bay of San-Fiorenzo. Here the British fleet lay 


refitting until the 18th of April ; when Admiral Hotham (pro- 
moted on the 16th to be admiral of the blue), leaying behind 
the two prizes, to one of which, the Ca-Ira, Captain Henry 
Dudley Pater had been appointed, and to the other, the Oen- 
seur. Captain John Gore, proceeded to Leghorn, and on the 
27th anchored with his fleet in the road. 

The French, after their disaster, proceeded straight to the 
bay of Hyeres, where the fleet was soon afterwards joined by 
the Mercure and Berwick from Gourjean bay, and on the 23rd 
by the Sans-Culotte from Genoa ; which port the French three- 
decker had entered on the morning of the 16th, after having 
been chased by five ships of war, supposed to be British, but 
in all probability Spanish. The French admiral despatched the 
Victoire, Timoleon, and Berwick, and the frigates Alceste and 
Minerve, to Toulon, to get repaired, and, with his fleet, now re- 
duced to 11 sail of the line and about four frigates, remained at 
anchor in Hyeres bay. 

On the 4th of April Bear-admiral Eenaudin, whose departure 
from Brest we formerly noticed, anohored in Toulon road with 
the 80-gun ship Formidable, 74s Jupiter, Mont Blanc, Jem- 
mappes, Bevolution, and Tyrannicide, frigates Fmbuscade, 
F^licit^, and another, and two or three corvettes. This squa- 
dron was a great acquisition to Vice-admiral Martin (promoted 
to that rank on the 22nd of March) ; as, not only were the ships, 
except perhaps the Formidable recently launched at Lorient, 
prime sailers, but, among the captains in command of them 
were the two enterprising oflBcers, Richery and Ganteaume. 
We are in doubt whether Bear-admiral Jean Louis Delmotte, 
and chef de division Yilleneuve, arrived with this reinforcement, 
or had previously belonged to Vice-admiral Martinis force, now 
augmented, without reckoning the three ships ordered for repair, 
to 17 sail of the line. 

About the time that Bear admiral Eenaudin arrived. Vice- 
admiral Martin removed from Hyeres bay to the road of 
Toulon ; where, some time in May, a spirit of disafiection broke 
out among the crews of the Toulon ships, but not, it appears, 
among those from Brest. The latter were moored across the 
entrance of the road, to defend the harbour and shipping from 
any attempt that might be made upon them by the British ; 
but such precautions were unnecessary, the British fleet lying 
inactive at Leghorn. At length, by the great exertions of the 
new conventional deputy M. Niou, a man either belonging or 
that had belonged to the navy, order was restored in the fleet, 


and the seamen pledged themselyes, in the most solemn manner, 
**to wash theh" crime in the blood of the e^iemies of the re- 

To keep alive this laudable feeling and profit by its effects, 
Vice-admiral Martin, or rather, as the French accounts say, 
M. deputy Niou, on the 7th of June, put to sea with the fleet, 
consisting, as already mentioned, of 17 sail of the line (one 120, 
two 808, remainder 748), besides six frigates and two or three 

On the 8th of May the British fleet sailed from Leghorn on a 
cruise off Cape Mola, the south-west extremity of the island of 
Minorca ; and on the 14th of June, while close to the cape, was 
joined by a squadron of nine sail of the line, under Rear- 
admiral Mann, from Gibraltar and England. Admiral Hotham 
continued cruising off Minorca until the morning of the 24th ; 
then bore up and made sail to the eastward, and on the 29th, in 
the afternoon, anchored in the bay of San-Fiorenzo. 

On the 4th of July Admiral Hotham detached Commodore 
Nelson, with the Agamemnon 64, Meleager frigate, 20-gun ship 
Ariadne, Moselle sloop, and Mutine cutter, with directions to 
proceed, in the first instance, off Genoa, and then cruise along 
the coast to the westward. On the 7th, at 4 p.m., Cape del 
Melle bearing north by west, distant six or seven leagues, the 
Agamemnon discovered the Toulon fleet, about five leagues off 
in the north-west. In the evening the French fleet went in 
chase ; and, during the night, some of the leading ships came 
fast up with the Moselle. On the 8th, at 7 h. 20 m. a.m.. Cape 
Corse bearing south-east by south, distant five leagues, the 
Agamemnon began firing guns as signals to the fleet in San- 
Fiorenzo bay ; and at 9 h. 30 m. a.m., the French ships dis- 
covering the British fleet of 22 sail of the line and several 
frigates, at anchor, left off chase and timied their heads to the 

The state of the wind, which blew right into the bay, was not 
the only obstacle that prevented the British fleet from imme* 
diately proceeding in chase. Most of the ships were in the 
midst of watering and refitting. Owing, however, to the extra- 
ordinary exertions of thefr crews. Admiral Hotham was enabled 
at 9 P.M. to take advantage of the land-wind, and get under way 
with the fleet. That fleet, on being joined by Conunodore 
Kelson's squadron, consisted of the 






98 ^ 

{Britannia • . 
Victory 1 . 
Princess Royal 
St. George • 
Windsor Castle 


74 ^ 


^Barfleur* . 
Gibraltar * . 

' Captain . 
Fortitude . 
Bombay Castle 
Saturn * , 
Cumberland * 
Tenible . 
Defence ^ , 
Egmont . 
Bedford . 

^ Samnito . 

i Agamemnon 

( Diadem 

(Admiral (b.) William Hotham. 
Captain John HoUoway. 
I Rear-admiral (b.) Robert Mann.* 
\ Capt{un John Knight. 
i Vice-admiral (r.) Sam. Cranston Goodall. 
\ Captain John Child Purvis. 
j Vice-admiral (r.) Sir Hyde Parker. 
\ Captain Thomas Foley. 
( Vice-admiral (w.) Robeit Linzee. 
( Captain John Gore. 

John Bazeley. 

John Pakenhara. 

Samuel iJeeve. 

William Young. 

Charles Cbamberlayne. 

James Douglas. 

Barth. Samuel Rowley. 

George Campbell. 

Thomas Wells. 

John Sutton. 

Thomas Troubridge. 

David Gould. 

Benjamin Hallowcll. 

William Shield. 












> Portuguese ships, captains unknown. 

Commodore Horatio Nelson, 
Captain Charles Tyler. 

Frigates, Meleager and Cyclops, 20-gun ship Aiiadne; sloops. Comet; 
Eclair, and Fleche ; and cutter Resolution. 

On the 8th, at noon, the British fleet, havmg cleared San- 
Fiorenzo bay, steered to the westward under all sail, with the 
wind from the south-south-west. On the 12th, in the evening, 
Levant island bearing from the van of the British fleet west, 
distant eight leagues, two vessels, spoken by the Cyclops, 
Captain William Hotham, and Fleche, Captain Thomas Boys, 
gave information that a few hours before they had seen the 
French fleet to the southward of the Hy^res. The admiral im- 
mediately threw out the signal to prepare for battle, and the 
fleet made all sail to the south-west. 

During the night a heavy gale from the west -north-west split 
the maintopsails of six of the British ships ; and on the 13th, 
at daybreak, the wind still blowing fresh, attended by a heavy 
swell, while different ships were bending new topsails, the French 

1 The ships thus marked were those 
that joined the admiral on the 14th of the 
preceding month. 

* Had shifted his flag from the Cumber- 
land a few hours only before the fleet got 
under way. 


fleet was discovered about five miles off upon the lee beam ; 
standing on the larboard tack and very muc^ scattered was the 
British fleet idien on the opposite tack, standing to the south- 
ward. At 3 h. 45 m. a.m. Admiral Hotham made the signal for his 
fleet to form the starboard, and in about an hour afterwards the 
larboard line of bearing, and to make all possible sail, preserving 
that order. ITiis was done for the alleged purpose of keeping 
the wind of the enemy and cutting him off from the shore, then 
only five leagues distant. 

At 8 A.M., finding that the French admiral, whose fleet formed 
now in a compact line on the larboard tack, was steering about 
two points off the wind, which at this time blew from the west- 
ward, had no other view than that of endeavouring to escape. 
Admiral Hotham made the signal for a general chase, and for 
the ships to take suitable stations for mutual support, and to 
engage the enemy on arriving up with him in succession. The 
signal was obeyed with alacrity, and the ships were soon under 
all the sail that their masts would bear. In the course of the 
forenoon the wind moderated and drew more to the southward, 
and at noon the rear of the French fleet bore from the British 
van north-north-east, distant three-quarters of a mile ; but th5 
rearmost ship of the British fleet, as a proof of its disunited state, 
was nearly eight miles off in the west-south-west. 

At half-past noon the wind suddenly changed from south-west- 
by-west to north, and thus brought the starboard and lee broad- 
sides of the three rearmost French ships to bear upon the British 
van ; the three leading ships of which were the Victory, Oullo- 
den, and Cumberland. The fire thus opened upon them was 
quickly re^tumed with interest, especially upon the stemmosi 
French ship, the Alcide, which in less than an hour beoamA 
greatly disabled. At about 1 h. 30 m. p.m. the Culloden had her 
maintopmast shot away, but nevertheless was using every effort, 
by crowding sail upon her fore and mizenmasts, to get again 
alongside of the enemy. 

At a few minutes before 2 p.m. %e Alcide, after a noble 
defence, struck her colours to the Cumberland, who, without 
stopping to take possession, passed on to the second French ship 
in the rear. In the mean time the French frigates Justice and 
Aloeste had approached the Alcide to take her in tow, and the 
Aloeste actually sent her boat for that purpose ; but a shot from 
the Victory sank the boat, and the two French frigates were 
oompelled to retreat. The Agamemnon, Blenheim, Captain, and 
Defence were now becoming distantly engaged. 




At 2 h. 42 m. p^m., just as the Cumberland having fired several 
shots at the Justice, and received great annoyance from the 
stem guns of one of the French line-of-battle ships, had attained 
a position alongside of the latter, the signal was thrown out to 
discontinue the action. Once, if not twice, had the Victory to 
repeat the signal with the Cumberland's x>endants before that 
ship iwould, or we suppose we must say could, see it. "When 
this signal was made by Admiral Hotham, the Blenheim, Gibral- 
tar, Captain, and a few other shix)s were closing with the 
enemy's rear ; and the Defence, from her known good saiMng, 
would probably have been in advance of them had she not, 
while lying upon the larboard quarter of the Victory, kept her 
mizentopsail aback after repeated hails from that ship to fill and 
stand on. 

At the time the action ended in this indecisive manner Cape 
Roux bore from the Victory, then among the ships that were 
nearest the shore, north-west half-west, distant four leagues. 
The French fleet, however, by a sudden change of wind to the 
eastward, had gained the weathergage on the starboard tack, 
and while the centre and rear of the British fleet lay nearly be- 
calmed in the ofi^g, was standing, with a light air, towards the 
bay of Frejus ; but we believe that Vice-admiral Martin, havinr 
about 7 P.M. been headed by a breeze from the south-west, did 
not reach an anchorage until very late.^ 

^ The following statement of this mise- 
rable action is from the note-book of as 
gallant an admiral as the service can boast 
— he was an eye-witness, and a lieutenant 
on board the Victory : — 

" On the 12th of Jnly. 1795, the English 
fleet, of 21 sail of the line, six of them 
being three-deckers, in company with 
two Neapolitan (Mr. James calls them 
Portuguese) seventy -fours, were a very 
few leagues to the eastward of Tonlon. 
The wind blowing strong from the Golf 
of Lyons from W.N.W. to N.W. In the 
evening the look-out frigates signalled 
* the French fleet out, and at no great di^ 
tance.' The admiral made the signal to 
prepare for battle. 

"At 4 o'clock on the morning of the 
13th July, it being my morning watch, on 
going on deck I saw the whole French 
fleet under our lee, at about the distance 
of from two to four leagues, consisting of 
17 sail of the line, irregularly formed, and 
sailing large on the larboard tack, stand- 
ing in for the land about Frejus bay. The 
English fleet, more collected, althoogh six 
ships had split topsails in the night during 
the gale, which was still blowing at 4 
o'clock, were on the starboard uA stand- 

ing off the shore, which must have been 
at least 13 leagues distant. We thus 
continued to stand on opposite tacks, 
separately from each other, until about 6 
o'clork, wben the signal was made to wear, 
and soon afterwards that for 'a geneiiil 
chase.' At* this time the French fleet were 
six or seven leagues from ns, and had 
got in shore, leaving us little hope of our 
gearing them before they reached the 
land. However, by carrying a press of 
sail, and the wind dying away as the 
Frendi drew in shore, and the English 
carrylBg the strong breexe up with them, 
we were enabled, with six of the fastest 
and best-managed ships of the van, to 
close with the rear ot the French line, 
and the action commenced at noon with 
the three or four rearmost ships of tte 

**At this time, or very shortly after- 
wards, the wind having fallen away, a 
tareeze sprang up fh}m the eastward, which 
brought tile French to windward of us on 
the starboard tack, our ships in tb« rear 
oomiig «p with a fliesh breeze at N.W., 
about 1 P.M. Our six ships before men- 
tloiled were Joined by the BlenheiM and 
Frincev Bojal, the Bombay Castle, and 




Of the six or seven ships that were enabled to take any part 
in this action, if such it can be called, the Culloden was the 
only one that lost any mast ; but the Victory was a considerable 
sufferer, having had all her stays except the fore stay shot 
away, as well as her maintopgaUant, foretopsail, and spritsaU 
yards. Her bowsprit and all three of her lower masts were also 
wounded in several places. The Cumberland likewise suffered 
considerably, having had her main stay, maintopmast stay, 
shrouds, and running rigging much cut. 

The loss sustained in the action was as follows: Culloden, 
two seamen killed, her first-lieutenant (Tristram Whitter) and 
four seamen wounded ; the Victory, two midshipmen (James 
Beale and William WiUison, neither of whom are named in the 
Gazette), and three marines killed, one lieutenant (John Hinton), 

one or two more, being not far aittem. It 
was abont this time that the Alcide caught 
fire in the foretop, and was soon in flames : 
1^ was the second iu the rear of the 
enemy. The Victory, which ship ought 
to have pushed on and been foremost on 
sndi a day, hailed Kveral of the ships to 
pass ahead of her; and she positively 
Sacked her maintop^il to allow others 
to get in advance of her; whereas, had 
^e carried sail at first, before the wind 
chopped round, she might easily have 
passed through the rear of the enemy's 
Une, between the third and fourth ships, 
have secured three, and brought on a 
general action. At 2 o'clock the com- 
mander-in-chief, being eight or nine miles 
•stern, not knowing the actual state of 
affoirs, and fearing his van to be too near 
the coast, made the signal to discontinue 
the action, and recalled his van. 

** Jt was not too late at this hour of the 
day to have done much, had the admiral, 
whose flag was flying on board the Victory 
(Rear-admiral Robert Mann), stated by 
signal * that the enemy could have been 
attacked with advantage,' for we were at 
least three leagues off the land, and had 
nine ships up, three of three decks, and 
others coming. At this time three or four 
more ships might have been captured with 
ease; but, no ! tlie signal to discontinue the 
action was obeyed without remonstrance, 
or stating what could be done. The Cum- 
berland, however, was some time before 
■he obeyed the signal, and followed the 
enemy; then, firing her broadside, she 
wore round and rejoined her fleet. The 
enemy were very badly manoeuvred, and 
fired without doing any execution of con- 
Mqnenoe for two hours. 

Had the English fleet only put their 
the. same way as the enemy's, and 


stood in-shore at 4 o'clock, the whole of 
the French line might have been cut oiF 
from the land, taken, or destroyed ; and 
even afterwards they might have been 
followed into Fr^us bay, and wluAly de* 

- There was a most beautiful mancenvre 
performed by the captain of the French 
frigate, the Alceste, stationed to wind- 
ward of the enemy's line. Seeing the 
second ship from the rear (the Alcide) in 
distress, and dropping astern into our fire, 
she bore down right athw^art the bows, 
lowered a boat, and attempted to send 
her on board the Alcide with a hawser, fa 
order to tow her clear of as ; but before 
the boat accomplished the ot^ject, a ihot 
from the Cumberland cut her in two, and 
she disappeared in an instant, with all 
her brave and unfortunate crew. The 
frigate perceiving the calamity, imme- 
diately made all sail in a masterly manner, 
as such a clever officer would naturally 
do, and soon got out of danger. 

" On this frigate coming down to take 
the Alcide in toW, the captain of the 
Victory, of 100 guns, came down below 
with orders to reserve our fire for the 
frigate which had bore away to rescue the 
French Y4, then abreast of us, and not 
half a mile distant; and although the 
Victory did fire, and many other ships 
also at this gallant vessel, she bad me 
good fortune to escape any Rerious acci- 
dent, having onlv some of the running 
rigging cut, which was soon replaced by 
her daring crew. She got off most beanti- 
fiilly, to the astonishment and wonder of 
all our fleet, and I pronounce this to be 
the best executed (although unsiMcessfal) 
and most daring manoeuvre I ever wit- 
nessed in the presence of so very superior 
a force." 


one midshipman (William Irwin), one major and one lieutenant 
of marines \ Frederick Hill Flight and William Parley), and 
11 seamen womided; the Blenheim, two seamen killed and 
two wounded; the Captain and Defence each one seaman 
killed, and the latter six wounded. Owing to the high firing 
of her opponents, the Cumberland sustained no loss whatever. 
The total loss in the British fleet amounted, therefore, to no 
more than 11 killed and 27 wounded.^ 

About a quarter of an hour after her surrender the Alcide 
caught fire in the foretop, owing, it is believed^ to some gre- 
nades or other combustible missiles placed there for use ; and 
notwithstanding every exertion by the people on board of her, 
the ship was soon in a blaze fore and aft. About 300 out of 
the 615 deposed to by her officers as the number of her crew 
were saved by the boats of the nearest British ships ; but the 
remainder unfortunately perished in the awful explosion which 
took place about an hour and a half after the fire had broken 

Upon the merits of the afiair off Hydros we are relieved from 
the task of commenting, by the scientific remarks of a profes- 
sional contemporary ; who, however, has left the action, in the 
way of detail, quite as brief and unsatisfactory as it stands in the 
oJBicial account. 

'*In this action," says Captain Brenton, ** there was a total 
misapplication of tactic, neither recommended by a clerk nor jus- 
tified by experience. The French fleet should have been attacked 
by a general chase, as soon as discovered : the bending new top- 
S0.ils, when the enemy was dead to leeward, was at best a useless 
measure ; and it is much to be regretted that time was lost in 
forming a line of bearing, which could not be preserved with any 
effect; as the admiral observes in his despatches, Hhe calms 
and shifts of wind in that country rendering all naval operations 
peculiarly uncertain,* With this knowledge it was incumbent on 
him to have dashed upon his enemy, who he knew would not 
wait for him, and who must have been in a great measure unpre- 
pared : by an immediate chase he would have compelled them 
to engage, or have increased their distance from the land, which 
would in a great degree have insured their capture or destruc- 
tion. The delay of making the signal gave them time to recover 
from their confusion ; and when, after a lapse of four hours, the 

1 In Admiral Hotham's letter in the tory's loss, no officer beiiig menticnied 

Gazette, the total stated Is 10 killed aud except one midsiiipinan, and he is not 

25 wounded ; bat there appears to have named, 
been a misttUce in the return of the Yic- 


British admiral made sail in chase, the wind Hsdled, and the op- 
portunity was irrecoverably lost."* 

To this it may be added, that the British admiral, had he 
persevered in the chase for a few hours longer, would have 
regained the wind of his opponent, as appears by the following 
entry in the log of the Victory : " At half-past 7 bore np ; enemy 
turning into Fr^jus ; wind south-west** On the other hand, great 
allowance must be made for the locomolive disqualifications of 
the chasing fleet, or rather of the single ship, by whose rate of 
going the speed of the fleet was in a great measure to be rcMfU- 
lated. To talk of making a ^^dash," where such ships as the 
old Britannia and St. George are present, is enough to raise a 
smile. Had the first been a private ship, the two might have 
been left behind to join the next day ; but, as carrying on board 
of her the commander-in-chief of the fleet, the Britannia, who 
was by far the worst sailer of the two, could not be left entirely 
out of sight. 

The decided inferiority of the French, who, besides having but 
17 ships to oppose to 23, had but one three-decker to oppose to 
six, is a sufficient excuse for their declining to engage. The 
French writers admit that Yice-admiraJ Martin did his utmost 
to avoid an engagement, on account of the odds against him ; 
but they wish to have it believed that the Alcide caught fire and 
blew up in the act of defending herself, instead of affcer she had 
struck. The interval between the haulmg down of the colours* | 
and the first appearance of the fire in the foretop is, however, 
clearly marked in the logs of the adjacent British ships. It wfll 1 
be enough to say that the captain of the Alcide did his duty 
like a brave officer ; and we wish we knew both his name and 
the name of the officer who commanded the ship next ahead of 
him in the line, that ship having in the most gallant maimer 
backed her maintopsail to cover, however ineffectually, her dis- 
abled companion fi:om the irresistible force by which she was 

The French fleet soon afterwards returned to Toulon, and the 
British fleet proceeded first to San-Fiorenzo and then to Leg- 
horn. On the 6th of August Admiral Hotham again put to sea, 
with 20 English and three Neapolitan sail of the line, and, ajrriT- 

i Brenton. vol. ii., p. 74. any remarks he may have made on the 

* The contempt with which the officers subject. The Tellnqiifshing purault, at 

of the present day speak of this action, the moment the Victory bore ap, is per- 

consldering the superiority of the English, fectly iucomprehensible, and the resnlti 

both in thTee•d(^ckerB and in general of the action are as trivial w the list <rf 

numbers, gaffldently bears oat Brentim In killed and wounded.--£tf«or. 


ing off Cape Sepet on the 8th, saw the French fleet at anchor in 
Toulon road. The British admiral then stood away to the east- 
ward, having first detached Captain Nelson, in the Agamemnon, 
with the frigates Inconstant, Meleagar, Tartar, andSonthampton, 
20-gun ship Ariadne, and brig-sloop Speedy, on a cruise along 
the coast of Italy, for the purpose of co-operating with the 
Austrian and Sardinian anmes in an attempt to expel the repub- 
licans from the Grenoese territories. 

On the 26th, the boats of this squadron, under the personal 
direction of the commodore, boarded and cut out of the bays of 
Allassio and Langueglia, in the yicinity of Yado, and then in the 
possession of a French republican army, two French gun-lnigs, 
the Eesolu of ten, and another of six guns, two 5-gun galleys, 
and Ave merchant vessels laden with provisions. Captain Nel- 
son also destroyed two other vessels, and performed the whole 
service without the loss of a man. 

After the capture of the Tigre, Formidable, and Alexandre, 
ofif Isle-Groix, the French government deemed it necessary to 
restore to the Brest fleet, as many ships from Toulon as bad 
previously been detached thither ; and accordingly, on the 14th 
of September, Bear admiral Eichery, with the 80-gun ship Vic- 
toire, 74s Barras, Jupiter, Berwick, B^solution, and Duquesne, 
and frigates Embuscade, Felicite, and Friponne, put to sea from 
the road. The orders of M. Eichery, it ftppears, were not to pro- 
ceed straight to Brest, but to crqjip for a few months on the 
coast of Newfoundland ; and, foi*tai^iM^ly for the rear-admiral, no 
conventional deputy divided with him the command of the 

On the 22nd a cartel brought to Admiral Hotham, who two 
days before had anchored in San-Fiorenzo bay, the first intelli- 
gence of the escape of this French squadron from Toulon. On 
the 5th of October, and not before, Eear-admiral Mann, with a 
squadron of six sail of the line, composed of the "Windsor Castle 
98 (his flag-ship), Cumberland, Defence, Terrible, Audacious, 
and Saturn, 74s, and frigates Blonde and Castor, was detached 
in pursuit; too late, however, to be of any service, as the sequel 
will show. 

On the 25th of September the British 74-gun ships Fortitude, 
Captain Thomas Taylor, Bedford, Captain Augustus Montgo- 
mery, and Censeur (jury-rigged and armed en flute). Captain 
John Gore, which had been detached from Admiral Hotham*8 
fleet a few weeks before, sailed from Gibraltar for England, with 
a valuable conyoy from the Levant, numbering 63 sail ; and 


with, for its additional protection, the 44-gun ship Argo/Oapftain 
Ilichard Handell Burgess, 12-pounder, 32-gun frigates Juno, 
Captain Lord Amelias Beauclerk, and Lutine, Captain William 
Haggitt, and fireship Tisiphone, Captain Joseph Turner. 

On the same night, in passing through the gut, the Aigo and 
Juno, with 32 sail of the convoy, parted company. The remain- 
ing ships kept with the commodore until the 7th of October; 
when, at about 9h. 30 m. a.m.. Cape. St. Vincent, by account, 
bearing east half-south distant 48 leagues, a squadron, which 
proved to be that of Bear-admiral Eichery, was descried in the" 
north-east. As soon as the character of the strangers became 
known, the commodore made the signal for the convoy to 
disperse, and, with the Bedford, Censeur, and Fortitude, formed 
the line, determined, if the French meditated an attack, to give 
them battle, and save as many as possible of the convoy. 

At 1 P.M., just as the three ships had formed in line, tiie 
Censeur rolled away her foretopmast, and having only a fri- 
gate's mainmast, was compeUed to drop astern. On observing 
that the French ships now fast approached, Captain Taylor 
judged it proper, with the concurrence of his officers and of 
Captain Montgomery, to bear up. The British immediately did 
so, the two efficient 74s keeping close together for mutual support 

At 1 h. 50 m. P.M. the leading French ship opened her fire 
on the Censeur ; who, in about five minutes, returned it with 
spirit, and was assisted occasionally by the stem chasers of tiie 
Fortitude and Bedford : to fire which they had been obliged to 
cut down a great part of the stem. Meanwhile the three French 
frigates, as they came up, brought to the merchant vessels, and 
the French line-of-battle ships pressed hard upon all five of the 
English ships of war. At 2 h. 30 m. p.m., having had her two 
remaining topmasts shot away, and having expended nearly all 
the small quantity of powder with which she had originally been 
supplied, the Censeur struck her colours to three of the French 
74s. Shortly afterwards the latter commenced fimng at the 
Lutine. The frigate returned their fire smartly, and, in the end, 
effected her escape ; as did also the Fortitude, Bedford, and 

The 32 merchant vessels, in charge of the Argo and lier con- 
sort, arrived safe at their destination, but those with Captahi 
Taylor were not so fortunate. Thirty out of 31 sail of them fell 
into the hands of M. Eichery ; who on the 13th with his 
squadron, the recaptured Censeur, and his fleet of prizes, en- 
tered in triumph the port of Cadiz : where, however, he was com- 

1795.] CRUISE OF M. GANTEAUME. " 305 

pelled to remain longer than gniijed his wishes, or the interests 
of his government. 

But M. EJchery's was not the only sqnadron which escaped 
from Toulon in the autumn of 1795. Towards the latter end of 
September chef de division Honors Ganteaume, with the Mont 
Blanc 74, frigates Junon and Justice of 40, Art^mise and 
Serieuse of 36, and Badine of 28 guns, and the 16-gun brig- 
corvette Hasard, sailed from the road on a cruise in the Levant, 
expressly to intercept, previously to its departure from that sea, 
the very convoy, which afterwards, by a>ccident as it were, fell 
into the hands of M. Eichery. 

While contending with contrary winds between Sardinia and 
Minorca, M. Ganteaume passed barely out of sight of Eear- 
admiral Mann's squadron on its way to Gibraltar. A French 
writer, in the " Victories et Conqu^tes," declares that M. Gan- 
teaume chased, and very nearly captured, the Agamemnon 64, 
Captain Horatio Nelson, and that subsequently hefhimself was 
chased by a squadron of five sail of the line under Yice-admiral 
Sir Hyde Parker, and only saved from capture by the fall of the 
topmasts of the two advanced ships. Although it is certain that 
several detachments from Admiral Hotham's fleet were at this 
time traversing the Mediterranean, we cannot discover, on in- 
specting the log-books of the British ships, that M. Ganteaume's 
squadron was seen by any of them. 

Having, in spite of the chances against him, accomplished his 
passage to the Levant, M. Ganteaume there captured a great 
many English, Eussian, and Neapolitan merchant vessels, and, 
by his appearance off the port of Smyrna, released the 36-gun 
frigate Sensible, Commodore Jacques-M^lanie Eondeau, and 
corvette Sardine ; which, with their prize, the late British 28- 
gun frigate Nemesis, Captain Samuel Hood Linzee, had, until 
the proximity of Commodore Ganteaume's squadron became 
known, been blockaded by the British 38-gun frigate Aigle, 
Captain Samuel Hood, and 28-gun frigate Cyclops, Captain 
William Hotham. We may remark, in passing, that the Neme- 
sis had been captured on the 9th of December, while tit anchor 
in the neutral port of Smyrna, by the Sensible and Sardine, with- 
out, as it appears, any opposition on the part of the British frigate 
beyond a fierce remonstrance at the illegality of the measure. 

While cruising in the northern quarter of the Archipelago 
the French squadron encountered a violent gale of wind, in 
which, besides some inconsiderable damage done to two or three 
of the ships, the Justice lost all her masts. Ordering the Jimon 

VOL. I. X 


to take the latter in tow, M. Ganteaume steered for the road of 
the Dardanelles. In a few days after he had rea^^hed this 
anchorage, intelligence arriyed from ConstaDtinople, that two 
British sail of the line and three or four frigates had been de- 
tached to intercept him. 

Leaving the Justice to follow as soon as she conld be got ready, 
the French commodore, with the remainder of his ships, weighed 
and set sail, in the hope to be able to quit the Archipelago 
before the British squadron could enter it ; M. Ganteanme being 
well aware that, from the little respect which, in the case of the 
Nemesis, Captain Kondeau and the Turks had shown to the 
neutrality of a port, the British commanding officer would be 
justified in attacking him in any Turkish road or port in which 
he might be lying. That the French commodore did not take 
his departure a day too soon is clear from the fact, that on the 
27th of December Captain Troubridge's squadron, consisting of 
the 74-gun ship Culloden, Diadem 64, and Inconstant, Flora, 
and Lowestofie frigates, when seyen or eight leagues to i^ 
south-east of Cape Matapan, standing into the Archipelago, 
chased the Badine, which bad just been detached by M. Gaih 
teaume, purposely, as he states, to draw the British squadron 
away from his own. 

Bunning into the gulf of Coron, the Badine anchored close 
off the town ; and on the next day the Lowestoffe cast anchor 
alongside of her, in order to watch her motions. On the 31st 
of December Commodore Troubridge, with the remainder of his 
squadron, anchored in the harbour of Milo, and subsequently 
steered for Smyrna. Meanwhile, Commodore Ganteaume was 
bending his course for Toulon, and on the 5th of Februaiy, 
1796, reached the road in safety. i 

Having detached Bear-admiral Mann and Yice-admiral Bx 
Hyde Parker, as already stated. Admiral Hotham sailed on the 
12th of October, for Leghorn, where he arrived on the next day. 
On the 1st of November, Admiral Hotham struck his flag,^ 
and was immediately succeeded in the command by Vice- 
admiral 8ir Hyde Parker, who had the day before rejoined the 
fleet with his squadron. On the lltb, the fleet sailed for Leg- 
horn, and on the 20th, anchored in ihe bay of San-Fiorenzo; 
where, on the 30th, the 32-gun frigate, Lively, Captain Iioid 
Garlics, arrived from Portsmouth, having on board Admiral Sir 
John Jervis, appointed the commander-in-chief on the statiOD. 

1 The admiral soon afterwards returned to England, and, by dint of sheer intezesti got 
himMlf made an Ixish peer. 


On the 3rd of December, Sir John shifted his flag from the 
Lively to the Victory, and on the 13th, sailed with the fleet for 
Toulon; between which port and the Isle of Minorca, the 
admiral was cruising at the close of the year. 

War between England and Holland, 

The extraordinary success which had attended the French 
arms throughout the year 1794, operating upon the reyolu- 
tionary spirit by which Holland was overrun, rendered the con- 
quest of that country, especially after the fall of the Nether- 
lands, no difficult task. France, in her policy, permitted 
Holland to retain the nominal dignity of an independent state, 
under the style of the Batavian Kepublic ; as, while it flattered 
the vanity of the Dutch, it gave to the conquerors every ad- 
vantage to be derived from possessing Holland as a province, 
without the expense of maintaining her as an integral part of 
the French empire. 

England now found it her duty not to let slip the opportunity 
of weakening the maritime power of this new ally in her 
enemy's cause. Accordingly, on the 19th of January, orders 
were issued to seize all Dutch vessels in British ports ; in con- 
sequence of which, the 64-gun ship, Zeeland, 54-gun ship, Braa- 
kel, 40-gun frigate, Thulen, and two brig-corvettes, together with 
seven homeward and two outward bound Dutch Indiamen, and 
from 50 to 60 merchant vessels, all lying in Plymouth Sound, 
were detained by the port-admiral, Vice-admiral Sir Bichard 
Onslow. It was understood at the time, that the ships were not 
to be considered as prizes, but were to be held in trust for the 
stadtholder, who had recently arrived at Harwich from Scheve- 
llng, in an open boat, with only three men and a boy to navigate 
her, should he ever regain his supremacy over the Dutch people. 
The ships were ordered round to Hamoaze ; where, after land- 
ing their powder, they were allowed, for the present, at least, to 
keep their colours flying. 

On the 9th of February, instead of the customary letters of 
marque and reprisal, the British government issued a proclama- 
tion, authorizing the detention of all Dutch vessels, as well as of 
all neutral vessels bound to or from Dutch ports. Measures 
were at the same time taken to gain possession of the islands 
and settlements belonging to Holland, both in the west and in 
the east; and, in the course of the month, a small British 
squadron, under the orders of Vice-admiral Adam Duncan, in 


the 74-guii ship Venerable, was despatched to the North Sea, to 
watch the motions of the Dutch fleet lymg in the Texel, or 
rather squadron, for the ships ready for sea did not, at this 
time, amount to more than three or four sail of the line, and 
about as many frigates. 

Early in August a fleet of Russian ships, consisting of 12 
crazy sail of the line and seven frigates, associated itself with 
that under Yice-admiral Dimcan; but the combined fleets, 
during the remainder of the year, had no enemy to encounter, 
save the perils of a winter's cruise in that favourite region for 
storms and shoals, the North Sea. Besides having Holland for 
an enemy, against whom letters of marque and reprisal issued 
on the 15th of September, England lost Prussia as a friend, that 
power having, since the 30th of April, concluded a separate 
peace with France. 

Light Squadrons and Single Ships, 

On the 30th of December, 1794, at 11 a.m., the British 12- 
pounder 32-gun frigate Blanche, Captain Eobert Faulkner, 
cruising off" the island of Desirade, one of the dependencies of 
Guadeloupe, and, like the latter, again in French possession, 
chased a large French armed schooner under a fort at the 
bottom of a bay in the first-named island. At 2 p.m. the Blanche 
stood into the bay after the schooner, which had come to an 
anchor, with springs on her cables. At 2h. 30 m. the fort and 
schooner, as well as some troops drawn up on the shore, opened 
a fire upon the Blanche, then about 700 yards distant, working 
up to a nearer and more effectual position. 

At 3 h. 45 m. p.m., having got close abreast of the fort, the 
Blanche dropped her anchor, and commenced a heavy fixe, as 
well upon the fort as upon the schooner and some troops draum 
up on the shore to assist in defending her. At 4 p.m., having 
silenced the fort, Captain Faulknor despatched the boats of the 
frigate to capture the schooner. This the boats very soon 
effected; and the Blanche weighed and stood out with her 
prize, which was a national schooner mounting eight guns, and 
commanded by a lieutenant de vaisseau, recently from Pointe-^ 
Pitre in the island of Guadeloupe. The loss sustained by the 
Blanche in this spirited enterprise was rather severe, amouiofting 
to one midshipman (Mr. Fitzgibbon) and one marine killed, and 
four seamen wounded : that on the part of the French schooner 
could not be ascertained, as the crew, previously to her being 
boarded, had escaped to the shore. 

1795.] BLANCHE AND PIQUE. 309 

Having manned his prize and despatched her to the harbour 
of the Saintes, two small islands close to Guadeloupe, and still 
in British possession, Captain Faulknor proceeded on a cruise 
off Pointe-k-Pitre, a harbour in Grande-terre, Guadeloupe, and 
in which lay, ready for.! sea, the French 36-gun frigate Pique, 
Captain Conseil. On the 2nd of January the Blanche was 
joined by the 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Quebec, Captain James 
Carpenter; but, the next -afternoon, the latter parted company, 
and, bearing up to the westward under all sail, was soon out of 

Thus left alone, the Blanche at about 6 p.m. steered straight 
for Pointe-h,-Pitre, and, on arriving within four miles of the port, 
lay to for the night. On the next day, the 4th, at daybreak, 
the Blanche discovered the Pique lying at anchor just outside 
of the harbour. At 7 a.m. the French frigate got under way, 
and began working into the of&ng under her topsails, backing 
her mizentopsail occasionally, to keep company with a schooner 
which had weighed with her. At about 8h. 30 m. the Blanche 
made sail to meet the French ship and schooner, until nearly 
within gun-shot of Fort Fleur-d'Ep^e ; when, finding the Pique 
apparently disinclined to come out from the batteries, the 
Blanche, who had hove to, made sail to board a schooner run- 
ning down along Grande-terre. At this time Pointe-k-Pitre 
bore from the Blanche north-west, distant two leagues, and the 
French frigate north-north-west, distant three miles. 

At half-past noon the Pique filled and made sail towards the 
Blanche. At 1 p.m. the latter brought-to an American schooner 
from Bordeaux to Pointe-k-Pitre with wine and brandy, and 
taking her in tow, steered towards the Saintes. At 2 p.m. the 
Pique crossed the Blanche on the opposite tack, and, hoisting 
French colours, fired four shots at her. This challenge, as it 
might be considered, the British frigate answered, by firing a 
shot to windward. The battery at Gosier also fired two shots ; 
but they, like those of the frigate, fell short. At 2 h. 30 m. p.m., 
finding that the Pique had tacked and was standing towards 
her, the Blanche shortened sail for the French frigate to come 
up ; but at 3 h. 30 m. p.m. the latter tacked and stood away. 

In the hope to induce the Pique to follow her, the Blanche, 
under topsails and courses, stood towards Marie Galante. At 
7 P.M., observing the Pique still under Grande-terre, Captain 
Faulknor took out the American crew from the schooner, and 
sent on board a petty officer and a party of men. The Blanche 
then wore, and stood towards the island of Dominique, with the 


Bchooner in tow. At about 8 p.m. the French fiigate was de- 
scried astern, about two leagnes distant, standing' after the 
Blanche, llie latter immediately cast off the schooner, aad 
tacking, made all sail in chase. 

At about a quarter-past midnight the Blanche, on the star- 
board tack, passed under the lee of the Pique on the larboard 
tack, and returned the distant broadside which the Pique had 
fired at her. At half-past midnight,, having got nearly in the 
wake of her opponent, the Blanche tacked; and, at a few 
minutes before 1 a.m. on the 5th, just as she had anired wit^ 
musket-shot upon the starboard quarter of the Pique, the latter 
wore, with the intention of crossing her opponent's hawse and 
raking her ahead. To frustrate this manoeuvre, the Blanche 
wore also ; and the two frigates became closely engaged, broad- 
side to broadside. 

At about 2 h. 30 m. a.m. the Blanche, having shot ahead, was 
in the act of luffing up to port to rake the Pique ahead, when 
the former's wounded mizen and main masts, in succession, feD 
over the side. Almost immediately after this, the Pique raa 
foul of the Blanche on her larboard quarter, and made several 
attempts to board. These attempts the British crevir success- 
fully resisted, and the larboard quarter-deck guns, and such ci 
the main-deck ones as would bear, were fired with destructive 
effect into the Pique's starboard bow; she returning the fire 
from her tops, as well as from some of her quarter-deck gms 
run in amidships fore and aft. At a few minutes before 3 aj(., 
while assisting his second-lieutenant, Mr. David Milne, and one 
or two others of his crew, in lashing, with such ropes as were 
handy, the bowsprit of the Pique to the capstan of the Blanche, 
preparatory to a more secure feustening by means of a hawser 
which was getting up from below, the young and gallant Gap- * 
tain Faulknor fell by a musket-ball through his heart. |l 

At this moment, or very soon afterwards, the lashings broke , 
loose ; and the Pique, crossing the stem of the Blanche, who 
had now begun to pay off for the want of after-sail, fell on 
board the latter, a second time, upon the starboard quarter. In 
an instant the British crew, witii the hawser which had just 
before been got on deck, lashed the bowsprit of the Pique to the 
stump of their own mainmast. In this manner the Blanche 
commanded now by Lieutenant Frederick Watkins, towed be- 
fore the wind her resolute opponent : whose repeated attempts 
to cut away this second lashing were defeated by the quick and 
well-directed fire of the British marines. In the meanwhile, the 

1795.] BLANCHE AND PIQUE. 311 

constant stream of musketry poured upon the quarter-deck of 
the Blanche from the forecastle and tops of the Pique, and a 
well-directed fire from the latter's quarter-deck guns pointed 
forward, gave great annoyance to the former; particularly, as 
having, like many other ships in the British navy at this period, 
no stem-posts on the main deck, the cannonade on the part of 
the Blanche was confined to two quarter-deck 6-pounders. The 
carpenters having in vain tried to cut down the upper transom 
beam, no alternative remained but to blow away a part of it on 
each side. As soon, therefore, as the firemen with their buckets 
were assembled in the cabin, the two alter guns were pointed 
agaiast the stem-frame. Their discharge made a clear breach 
on both sides, and the activity of the bucket-men quickly ex- 
tinguished the fire it had occasioned in the wood-work. The 
two 12-pounders of the Blanche, thus brought into use, soon 
made considerable havoc upon the Pique's decks. 

At about 3 h. 15 m. a.m. the mainmast of the French frigate 
(her fore and mizen masts having previously fallen) fell over the 
side. In this utterly defenceless state, without a gun which, on 
account of the wreck of her masts, she could now bring to bear, 
the Pique sustained the raking fire of the Blanche until 5 h. 15 m. 
A.M. ; when some of the French crew, from the bowsprit end, 
called aloud for quarter. The Blsmche immediately ceased her 
fire f and, every boat in both vessels having been destroyed by 
shot. Lieutenant Milne, followed by ten seamen, endeavoured to 
reach the prize by means of the hawser that 'still held her ; but, 
their weight bringing the bight of the rope down in the water, 
they had to swim a part of the distance. 

The following diagram will assist in explaining the manner in 
which this gallantly-fought action was brought to a termination. 

/#--•■.-.. ^ -^ 

• /Blanche. ' — -^ ^^s.. 

2 30 AM. *<2?^ 


15 A.M. >^ 


The Blanche, besides her 32 long 12 and 6 pounders, mounted 
six 18-ponnder carronades, total 38 guns; and, having sent 
away in prizes two master^s mates and 12 seamen, she had on 
board no more than 198 men and boys. Of these, the Blandie 
lost her commander, one midshipman (William Bolton) five sea- 
men, and one private marine killed, one midshipman (Charles 
Herbert), two qnartermasters, the armonrer, one sergeant of 
marines, 12 seamen, and four private marines wounded ; total, 
eight killed and 21 wounded. 

The Fiqiie was armed with two carriage-gnns, G-ponnders, less 
than her establishment, or 38 in all; but she mounted along her 
gunwale on each side, several brass swivels. Eespecting the 
number composing the crew of the Pique, the accounts are veiy 
contradictory. Lieutenant Watkins, in his official letter, states 
the number at 360 ; and Yice-admiral Caldwell, at Martinique, 
when enclosing that letter to the Admiralty, says, '* many more 
than 360.'' On the other hand, the three French officers, ex- 
amined before the surrogate of the colonial vice-admiralty court, 
subsequently deposed, two of them to " between 260 and 270 
men," and the third to ''about 270 men,", as the total number 
on board their ship when the action commenced. Upon these 
certificates, head-money was paid for 265 men; but, according 
to the documents transmitted along with those certificates, the 
actual number of men on board was 279. Among the documentB 
is a letter, with Admiral Caldweirs signature, stating that the 
number of killed, wounded, and prisoners, the amount of which, 
however, is not shown, accords exactly with the number, 279, 
alleged to be on board the Pique ; yet, in the admiral's letter in 
the Gazette, the total of killed, wounded, and prisoners, amounts 
to 360. Schomberg makes the number 460;^ and anoth^ 
writer considers the Pique's men to have nearly doubled those « 
of the Blanche. We are satisfied, however, that 279 is the full ( 
amount of the French crew. Of this number the Pique had, it 
appears, 76 officers and men killed, and 110 wounded; a loss { 
unparalleled in its proportion. 

Comparative Force of the Combatants. 

Broadside -guns . . . . i ,, ^* 

Crew No. 

Size tons 

■ A difference there is, but scarcely sufficient, except perhaps in 

1 Schomberg, yd. ii., p. 403. 












point of crew, to entitle the action to be considered otherwise 
than as an equsl match. The French officers and crew fought 
the Pique in a most gallant manner ; surrendering only when 
their ship was a defenceless hulk, and themselves reduced to a 
third of their original number. 

Nor must we omit to do a further act of justice to Captain 
Conseil,.or to his memory rather, for, although not stated, he 
was, we believe, among the mortally wounded in the action, and 
express it as our conviction, that he evinced a laudable caution 
in not going out to meet the Blanche, until he was certain that 
the frigate, so recently seen in her company, had retired to a 
safe distance. On the part of the British officers and crew, con- 
summate intrepidity was displayed, from the beginning to the 
end of this long and sanguinary battle. Indeed, a spirit of 
chivalry seems to have animated both parties ; and the action of 
the Blanche and Pique may be referred to with credit by either. 

At 8 A.M. the 64-gun ship Veteran, Captain William Hancock 
Kelly, joined the Blanche and her prize, and assisted in ex- 
changing the prisoners. The 64 then took the Pique in tow, 
and carried her, in company with the Blanche, to the Saintes. 
The approach of the Veteran to perform this service occasioned 
the French officers to declare, that that ship must have witnessed 
the combat, and they refused, at first, to sign the usual head- 
money certificates, unless the Veteran was named as one of 
their captors. The fact is, the Veteran, at 3 a.m., while beating 
up from the Saintes, did see the flashes of the guns, bearing 
from her east-north-east, but did not gain a sight of the com- 
batants themselves until daylight, which was about a quarter of 
an hour affcer the action had terminated ; and, even then, the 
Veteran was upwards of two hours in endeavouring to reach the 

The Pique became afterwards added to the British navy as a 
12-pounder 36 ; and Lieutenants Watkins and Milne were both 
deservedly made commanders. The third-lieutenant, and who, 
on the promotion of these two officers, succeeded to be first of 
the Blanche, was John Prickett, since dead, as a commander. 

On the 13th of March, at 7 a.m., Ushant bearing south half- 
west, distant 13 leagues, the British 18-pounder 32-gun frigate 
Lively, Captain George Burlton, acting in the absence of Lord 
Garlics, sick on shore, while standing down Channel on the 
starboard tack, discovered three strange sail on the same tack, 
steering for the coast of France. Chase was given by the Lively ; 
and soon afterwards, the largest of the three strangers, which 




was the French 28-gan corvette, or frigate, Tonrterelle, Captain 
Guillaume S. A. Montalan, tacked and stood towards the Biitoh 

At 10 h. 30 m. a.m/ the two ships having approached within 
gun-shot on opposite tacks, commenced firing at each other. Afi 
soon as she had got abaft the Lively's beam, the Tonrterelle 
wore; and a close action ensued, which continued until 
1 h. 30 m. P.M. ; when the French ship, having had her three 
topmasts shot away, her remaining masts, rigging, and sails en- 
tirely disabled, and her hull greatly shattered, hauled down her 
colours. Shortly afterwards the Tonrterelle' s mainmast fell 
over the side. 

The damages of the Lively were chiefly confined to her rigging 
and sails. The latter were much burnt by red-hot shot fired 
from her opponent ; on whose lower or berth deck, until it was 
thrown overboard just previously to surrender, had been a 
regular furnace for heating them. Notwithstanding the use of 
this additional means of resistance, the Lively, out of her com- 
plement of 251 men and boys, escaped with only two, Lieiutenant 
Loftus Otway Bland and one seaman, wounded ; whereas the 
Tonrterelle, out of her crew, as deposed by her officers, of 230 
in number, had 16 officers and men killed and 25 wounded. 

The Lively's guns were those of her class at i^ in the table at 
p. 101, with six brass 24>pounder carronades, or 38 guns in all. 
The Tourterelle mounted two sixes fewer than No. 9 in tiie 
small table at p. 59, or 30 guns in all. 

Comparative Force of the Combatants, 

Broadside-gans . 



• • libs. 

. . No. 

. tons 









Captain Montalan, in commencing the attack, either mistook 
the Lively for a less formidable ship, or relied too much upon 
the effects of his red-hot shot. In either case, he showed him- 
self an enterprising officer ; and the Tourterelle's three hours' 
resistance, disabled state, and heavy loss, afiforded ample proofs 
of his bravery and determination. The employment of hot shot 
is not usually deemed honourable warfare ; but the blame, if 
any, rested with those who had equipped the ship for sea. 

The two other vessels in si^t, when the action began, were 
prizes to the resuscitated ^ French corvette Espion. These, a 

1 See p. 335. ' * 



few days afterwards, were retaken by the Lively. The Tourte- 
. relle, on her arrival in port, was purchased for the British navy; 
and, although called by the French a corvette, became classed 
as a British 28-gun frigate. The Tourterelle did not, however, 
long continue as a cruiser : in the year 1799 she was converted 
into a troop or store ship. 

The near approach to equality in the nominal force of the 
Lively and Tourterelle— that is, in the rated number of guns on 
board one ship, and the moimted number on board the other- 
has been made the basis of an attempt to raise this action far 
above its proper level. For instance, a naval writer says : *' The 
Lively, of 32 guns, captured the Tourterelle, of 30 guns."^ 
Now, as **of" can mean nothing else than ** mounting, "what 
is the uninformed reader to infer, but that these ships differed in 
force by only a 16th ? Suppose the writer not to have known 
that the Lively mounted six 24-pounder carronades in ad- 
dition to her "32 guns," he still, from his professional expe- 
rience, must have been aware, that the English ship carried 
long 18-pounders, the French ship long 8, or, putting them 
into English, long 9 pounders ; a difference itself of one-half 
in the weight of metal. Many similar instances might be 
quoted from the same work ; but the case of the Lively and 
Tourterelle will be sufficient to expose the absurdity and un- 
fairness of such a manner of stating the force between contend- 
ing ships. 

On the 10th of April, at 10 a.m., a British squadron, composed 
of five ships of the line and three frigates, under the command 
of Kear-admiral John Colpoys, while cruising to the westward, 
with the wind at east by north, discovered three strange sail in 
the north-west quarter. Chase was immediately given ; and, at 
noon, the strangers were discovered to be three French frigates. 
The 74-gun ship Colossus, Captain John Monkton, having got 
within gun-shot of one of them, opened her fire ; which the 
frigate returned with her stem-chasers. The three French 
frigates, soon afterwards, took different courses. The two that 
pointed to the westward were pursued by the 74-gun shipe 
Bobust and Hannibal ; while the one that steered a north- 
westerly course, and which was the 36-gun frigate Gloire, Cap- 
tain Beens, was followed, closely by the 12-pounder 32-gun 
frigate Astraea, Captain Lord Henry Paulet, and, at a great dis- 
tance, by one or more of the other ships. 

1 Brenton, to}. 1., p. 367. 


At 6 P.M., having far outstripped her consorts, the Astrsea got 
within gun-shot of, and fired several of her quarter-deck guns at, . 
the Gloire ; who, in return, kept up an incessant fire fix)m her 
stem-chasers. Advancing gradually up, the Astrsea, at 10 h. 
30 m. P.M., brought the Gloire to close action, and, after a 58 
minutes' spirited cannonade, compelled the French frigate to 
haul down her colours. The three topmasts of the AstraBa were 
so wounded by the Gloire's shot, that her maintopmast fell over 
the side in two hours after the action, and the fore and mizen 
topmasts were obliged to be shifted. The masts and yards of 
the Gloire, and the rigging and sails of both ships, were also 
much cut. 

The Astrsea mounted, it appears, no more than the 32 long 
guns of her class, and, out of her 212 men and boys, did not 
lose a man killed, but had one mortally, two dangerously, and 
five slightly wounded. The Gloire, who appears to have 
mounted two more sixes than the establishment of her class, or 
42 guns in aU, lost, according to the representation of her 
officers, 40 in killed and wounded together. 

Comparative Force of the Combatants, 


Broadside-guns . . . • { i^ * 

Crew No. 

Size toDS. 




Nothing was wanted but a meeting less likely to be inter- 
rupted, to render the capture of the Gloire a very gallant per- 
formance on the part of the Astrssa. Nor did the officers and 
men of the French frigate by any means give away their ship. 
Much credit is also due to Lord Henry Paulet individually, both 
for the fairness of his account, and the feeling manner in which 
he speaks of his antagonist. He expresses sorrow at the Gloire's 
loss of men, and describes Captain Beens as '' an able, humane, 
and intelligent officer." The first-lieutenant of the Astraaa, Mr. 
John Talbot, was sent to take charge of the Gloire, and, soon 
after his arrival at Portsmouth with the prize, was deservedly 
made a commander. 

The Gloire's two consorts were the Gentille and Fraternity 
each of the same force as herself. The Gentille was captured, 
on the following morning, by the Hannibal ; but the Fraternity 
effected her escape. TTie Gloire was purchased for the use of 
the British navy, and registered as a 12-pounder 36 ; but, being 


old and nearly worn out, she did not long continue as a cruising- 

On the 1st of May, at 11 a.m., a fire broke out on board the 
98-gun ship Boyne, Captain George Grey, bearing the flag of 
Vice-admiral Sir John Jervis, as she lay at her anchors at Spit- 
head. The flames had burst through the poop before the fire 
was discovered ; and they now spread so rapidly that, in less 
than half an hour, this fine ship, in spite of every exertion of her 
officers and crew, was in a blaze fore and aft. As soon as the 
fire was discovered by the fleet, all the boats of the ships pro- 
ceeded to the Boyne* s assistance ; and the whole of her nu- 
merous crew, except eleven, were thereby saved. The port- 
admiral, Sir Peter Parker, went on board the Royal William, 
and made the signal for all ships most in danger to get under 
way ; which order, although both wind and tide were unfavour- 
able, was executed with promptness and judgment, and the ships 
lying to the eastward of the Boyne, and fi'om the direction of 
the wind unsafely situated, dropped down to St. Helen's. 

The Boyne's guns, being loaded, went oflF as they became 
heated, discharging their shot among the shipping; whereby 
two men were killed and one wounded on board the Queen 
Charlotte. Some of the shot even reached the shore in Stokers 
bay. At about 1 h. 30 m. p.m. the Boyne broke fi'om her cables, 
and drifted slowly to the eastward, till she grounded on the 
Spit, opposite South Sea castle. Here the ship continued to 
bum until near 6 p.m. ; when, the flames having reached the 
magazine, she blew up with a dreadful explosion. *' The blow- 
iug up of her fore-magazine," says Captain Brenton, ** offered 
one of the most magnificent sights that can be conceived. The 
afternoon was perfectly calm, and the sky clear: the flames 
which darted from her in a perpendicidar column of great 
height, were terminated by an opaque white cloud like a round 
cap, while the air was filled with fi-agments of wreck in every 
direction, and the stump of the foremast was seen far above the 
smoke descending to the water."^ 

It has never been correctly ascertained how the fire on board 
the Boyne originated. One account is, that a part of the lighted 
paper from the cartridges of the marines, who were exercising 
and firing on the windward side of the poop, flew through the 
quarter-gallery into the admiral's cabin, and communicated with 
the papers and other inflammable materials. Captain Brenton 
thinks, that the overheating of the funnel of the ward-room 

I Brenton, vol. i., p. 372. 


stove, which passed through the decks, was the cause * of the 

Among the British light squadrons cruising on tktb coast of 
France in the summer of this year, was one commanded hy 
Captain Sir Richard John Strachan of the Melampus, having 
under him the 38-gun frigates Diamond and H^be, Captains Sir 
William Sidney Smith and Paul Minchin, and 32-gun frigates 
Niger and Syren, Captains Edward James Foote and Graham 

On the 9th of May, at 3 A.M., while these frigates were lying 
at an anchor in Gourville bay, island of Jersey, 13 sail of French 
vessels were discovered running along the French shore to the 
southward. The squadron instantly weighed and gave chase, 
with the wind off the land. At 6 a.m. the Melampus got near 
enough to fire upon the headmost vessels ; but the whole convoy, 
except a cutter which escaped round Cape Carteret, ran close 
in shore, under the protection of two gun-vessels, the Eclair and 
Crache-Feu, aided by a small battery on the beach. The boats 
of the frigates having assembled on board the Melampus, pro- 
ceeded, under cover of that ship and the other frigates, to 
attack the convoy ; between whose armed vessels and battery, 
and the British Mgates, as they came up in succession, a smart 
fire was maintained. 

Opposed to so formidable a force, the French soon abandoned 
their vessels ; and the boats boarded and took possession of the 
whole convoy, including the two gun-vessels, each of which was 
armed with three long 18-pounders. One small sloop, on ac- 
count of the tide having left her, was burnt ; the remaining 10, 
composed chiefly of ships and brigs, were brought safe off. One 
of the vessels measured 397 tons, and the average of the whole 
was about 180 tons. They were laden with ship-timber, powder, 
cannon, cordage, and other articles of naval stores. 

In performing this service, the Melampus lost one petty 
officer, and seven seamen wounded; the Diamond two sea- 
men wounded ; the Hdb^, her surgeon (John Leggett^ and two 
seamen wounded; the Niger, her second-lieutenant (Charles 
Long) ^and one seaman wounded ; and the Syren, one midship- 
man (John M'Gufifock) and one marine killed, and two seamen 
wounded; total, 2 killed and 17 wounded. 

Subsequently, on the 3rd of July, when Sir Eichard had with 
him the H^b^ only, this enterprising officer captured, ofif St. 
Male, six out of 13 French vessels, laden with military stores, 
and convoyed by a ship of 26 guns, two brigs, and a lugger : he 


also succeeded in taking one of the brigs, the Y^uve, armed 
with four 18 or 24 pounders, and 60 men. 

The British 36-gun Mgate Thetis, Captain the Honourable 
Alexander Inglis Cochrane, and 28-gun frigate Hussar, Captain 
John Peer Beresford, being stationed off Chesapeake bay, 
United States of America, in order to intercept three French 
store-ships lying in Hampton roads, discovered, at daybreak on 
the 17th of May, Cape Henry bearing west by south, distant.20 
leagues, five sail on the larboard tack, standing to the north- 
west. These ships, which, although large, were evidently 
armed en flute, drew up in line, and awaited the approach of 
the two British frigates. At 10 h. 30 m. a.m. the strangers 
hoisted French colours, and the second ship from the van, a 
broad pendant. The names of the five ships were Nprmand, 
Trajan, Prevoyante, Hemoux, and Baison; but what stations 
the ships severally held in the line (except that the Prevoyante 
is rightly placed), or which ship was the French commodore's, 
cannot now be ascertained, and is, indeed, of no great conse- 

The Hussar, by signal, hauled up and placed herself opposite 
to the two van-ships ; and the Thetis, following in line, opened 
her broadside upon the centre-ship, which was the largest. By 
11 A.M. the Hussar had compelled the commodore and his 
second ahead to quit the line, and make sail to the east-south- 
east. The fire of both frigates now fell upon the centre-ship 
and the two ships in her rear ; all three of which, at 11 h. 45 m. 
A.M., hauled down their colours ; but the two rear-ships, not- 
withstanding they had surrendered, crowded sail to get away. 
One of them, the Baison, was soon overtaken by the Hussar ; 
but the other eflected her escape. 

The large ship was the Prevoyante, pierced for 36, but mount- 
ing 24 guns only, believed to have been 8-pounders. As a 
proof how resolutely she had been defended, her fore and main 
masts went over the side in half an hour after her surrender. 
What was her complement at the commencement of, or her loss 
during, the action, does not appear in Captain Cochrane' s letter. 
The Baison mounted, according to the journal of one of the 
officers of the Hussar, her principal opponent, 14 guns, but 
Captain Cochrane, in his letter, says 18 ; in either case probably 
6-pounders, with a complement, as it appears, of 125 men, of 
whom between 20 and 30 were too sick to go to quarters. Her 
loss in the action is nowhere stated. 

The Thetis, whose long guns were 18 and 9 pounders^ besides 



aa many 18 or 24 potinder carronades on the qnarter-deck and 
forecastle as gave her 42 or 44 guns in the whole, with a com- 
plement of 261 men and boys, lost eight men killed, and nine 
wonnded, some of them badly. The Hussar, whose 24 mainded^ 
gnns were long 9-pomiders, exclusive of six 18-ponnder carron* 
ades and four long sixes on the quarter-deck and forecastle, 
total 34 guns, with a complement of 193 men and boys, lost 
only three men wounded. With respect to damages, the latter 
ship had her standing and running rigging much cut, and three 
shot-holes in the fore, and one in the main mast. 

The Hussar alone, as a regular man of war, was more than a 
match for the two captured store-ships ; and they and their 
three consorts were of no greater force, however formidal^ in 
appearance, than a British 18-pounder 36 and a 28-gun frigate 
would, at any time, have gladly encountered. 

The Prevoyante and Eaison were purchased by govemm^ii, 
and fitted out at Halifax, Nova Scotia. They only remained, 
however, as cruising-ships until their arrival in England in 1799. 
The Fi*evoyante measured 803 tons, and, until subsequentily 
restored to her original employment of a store-ship, was 
registered as a 36-gUQ frigate ; not in Steel, for he classes her as 
a 40, but in the books of the navy. If we look, for a moment, 
at the Frevoyante's establishment of guns, as by Admiralty- 
order of August 17, 1795, we shall find that this " 36-giiii 
frigate " was, in more than one instance, an anomaly of her 

First, or birth deck .... 
Second, or main deck . . . , 
Quarter-deck and forecastle 





cans. 24 


long 12 




cans. 18 

Carriage-guns 56 

Men and boys 281 

Suppose the captain of the Prdvoyante, having taken a French 
frigate, were to state, as others had done before him, that hu 
ship was " of 36 guns," would not the French officers consider 
the discrepancy as too gross to be other than a typographical 
error — a substitution of a 3 for a 6 ? 

On the 25th of May the British 16-gun ship-sloop Thoni, 
Captain Eobert Waller Otway, being on the Windward Islaiid 
station, fell in with, and, after a spirited action of 35 nunntea 
during which the enemy was repulsed in two attempts to boaid, 


captured the 18-gcin ship-corrette, Courier-National, commanded 
by a lieutenant de vaisseau. 

The Thorn, whose guns were 6 pounders, with a crew on 
board of 80 men and boys, had only five men wounded ; while 
the loss of the Courier-National, whose guns were 8 and 6 
pounders, with a crew of 119 men and boys, amounted to seven 
killed and 20 wounded. 

This was a well-contested match ; and, while every credit is 
due to Captain Otway and his numerically inferior crew, for so 
promptly deciding it, the loss sustained by the French ship 
shows that her officers and men were by no means deficient in 

In the month of June Admiral Hotham, while cruising with 
the British fleet off the Island of Minorca, received intelligence 
that the French fleet was at sea. To ascertain the fact, the 
admiral, on the evening of the 23rd, detached the 28-gun frigate 
Dido, Captain George Henry Towry, and 12-pounder 32-guii 
frigate Lowestoffe, Captain Robert Gambler Middleton, to 
reconnoitre the road of Toulon. On the 24th, at 4 a.m., latitude 
4:1^ 8' north, longitude 5° 30' east, these frigates, standing close 
hauled on the larboard tack, with the wind at north^orth-west, 
descried approaching them, nearly ahead, the French 40-gun 
frigate Minerve, Captain Perree, and 36-gun frigate Art^mise, 
Captain Charbonnier, which frigates, by a singular coincidence, 
had been ordered by the French admiral to proceed off Minorca, 
and ascertain the truth of a rumour that the British fleet was 
at sea. 

As soon as the private signal made by the Dido, who was 
ahead of her consort, discovered the relation of the parties to 
each other, the French frigates wore round on the other tack 
and stood away. The Dido and Lowestoffe immediately made 
sail in chase. At 7 a.m. it was evident that the French frigates 
were leaving their pursuers; but at 8 a.m. the Minerve and 
Art^mise, as a proof that they were not disposed to decline a 
combat with two ships, whose inferior force must now have 
betrayed itself, again wore round, and, with French colours 
flying, stood on under easy sail to meet the Dido and Lowe- 
stoffe ; who, with colours hoisted, and all clear for action, kept 
their course to hasten the junction. 

On arriving within about a mile of the Dido's larboard and 
weather bow, the Minerve, who was at some distance ahead of 
her consort, wore round on the same tack as the Dido, and at 
8 h. 30 m. A.M. (^)ened her fire npon the latter. The J>ido, 

VOL. I. Y 


however, resenred her fire until 8 h. 45 m. ; when, having got 
close under the Minerve*8 Btarboard and lee beam, the British 
frigate commenced a steady and well*directed cannonade. In 
about fiye minutes the Minerve, suddenly beariiif^ up, with 
yards square, attempted to decide the contest at once by 
running down the Uttle ship that was presuming to contend 
with her. Just as the Minerve*s flying jib-boom was about to 
touch the Dido*s main yard, the latter put her helm aport, to 
aroid receiving directly upon her beam, a shock which, with 
the weight and impetus of the French ftigate, must have sent 
her to the bottom. Owing to this well-planned movement^ the 
Dido received the blow obliquely, the luff of the Minerve's 
starboard bow taking her on the larboard quarter. But so 
heavy, notwithstanding Captain Towry*s precaution, was the 
shock, that it drove the Dido nearly athwart the hawse of the 
Minerve ; i^d, the latter's jib-boom being carried away by the 
former's main rigging, the bowsprit of the Minerve became 
locked in the mizen rigging of the Dido. 

From the bowsprit, thus favourably placed, the Frenchmen, 
under cover of the Minerve's foremost guns and a heavy fire of 
musketry, attempted to board, but were prevented, as well by 
the pikemen on the Dido's quarter-deck, as by the violenoe with 
whicii the ships, owing to a great swell and hollow sea, were 
striking against each other. After about a quarter of an hour^s 
contest in this situation, and when the Dido was literally 
hanging by her mizen rigging on the Minerve's bowsprit, the 
latter snapped short in two, carrying overboard with it, besides 
eight or ten of the French boarders, the Dido's badly wounded 
mizenmast. The wreck was quickly cleared ; and, the colours 
of the Dido having fallen into the sea with the gaff, the signal- 
man, Henry Barling, with characteristic bravery, nailed a union 
jack to the stump of the mast. 

As soon as she had thus cleared herself, the Minerve passed 
along the Dido's larboard beam, rubbing sides the whole way, 
and the mutual cannonade recommenced with vigour. Presently, 
however, the lower yards of the Minerve, hooking the leeches 
of the Dido's two remaining topsails, tore them out of the 
bolt-ropes ; and the French frigate, continuing to range ahead, 
left the Dido almost a wreck upon her larboard quarter. 

Having, owing to the Dido's position ahead of the Minerve, 
been prevented from firing into the latter's stem as she passed 
under it to assist her consort, the Lowestoflfo now placed herself 
on the Minerve's larboard bow, about a ship's length from her; 


and at 9 a.m. opened her fire, which, in six or eight minutes, 
brought down by the board the French frigate's unsupported 
foremast, also her main and mizen topmasts. About this time 
the Art^mise, who, in running past, had fired an ineffectual 
broadside into each of the British frigates, hauled her wind and 
made all sail. 

At 9 h. 15 m. A.M., the escape of the Minerve being rendered 
impossible, Captain Towry caused the signal to chase to be 
spread over the Dido's quarter. The Lowestoflfe thereupon 
quitted the Minerve, and made all sail in pursuit of the 
Artemise ; and the Dido, setting her only serviceable sail, the 
foresail, stretched ahead to repair her damages. The Artemise 
and Lowestofife soon began exchanging their chase-guns ; but 
the latter, having unfortunately received a shot through her 
mizenmast, could not carry her raizentopsaiL In consequence 
of this, the Artemise gained upon the Lowestoffe so much, that 
Captain Towry, at 10 h. 30 m. a.m., made the latter's signal of 

At 11 h. 30 m. the Lowestoffe again closed with the Minerve 
on the starboard quarter, and soon opened upon her a heavy 
raking fire. In the mean time the Dido, having bent new fore 
and main topsails, and partiaUy repaired her damaged rigging, 
had wore and made sail in the direction of the Minerve ; who, 
at 11 h. 45 m., on her mizenmast being shot away by the board, 
and with it her colours, hailed the Lowestoffe to send « boat 
and take possession. At this time the Artemise was nearly 
hull down to windward ; and the Minerve, certainly, if not in a 
defenceless, was in an utterly unmanageable state. 

The Dido, out of her complement of 193 men and boys, had 
her boatswain (Cuthbert Douglas) and five seamen, killed, her 
first-lieutenant (Richard Buckoll, who, however, did not quit 
the deck), captain's clerk (Eichard Willan), and 13 seamen 
wounded. The Lowestoffe, out of her complement of 212, had 
none killed and only three wounded. Each of these frigates 
carried the guns of her class, as described at O and H of the 
table at p. 101, with four 18-pounder carronades in addition ; 
making the Lowestoffe' s guns 36, and those of the Dido 32. 

The Minerve mounted two carronades less than her establish- 
ment at p. 59, or 42 guns in all, with a complement on board of 
318 men and boys, and is represented to have lost upwards of 
20 in killed and wounded (among the latter her captain), exclu- 
sive of those that were drowned by the falling of the bowsprit. 
The loss sustained by the Artemise, a regular 36, mounting 40 


.gonSy out of a ccMnplement amounting at least to 300, could not 
of course be ascertained, but, from her small share in the action, 
was probably of very slight amount. 

In every point of view, this was a gallantly-fouglit action on 
the part of the British. The Minerve alone was superior in 
broadside weight of shot to the Dido and Lowestoffe tc^etiier, 
and the Artemise was rather more than a match for the Lowe- 
stoffe. The conduct of Captain Towry was noble in the ex- 
treme. His senior ^*ank gave him, allhough commanding ihe 
smaller ship, the right of choosing his antagonist, and he did 
not hesitate a moment in laying the Dido alongside a ship of 
nearly double her size and force. A ship of 1102 tons, and 318 
men, coming stem-on upon a ship of 595 tons, and 193 men, 
was indeed a critical situation for the latter; and, had the 
Minerve's consort not behaved in a most dastardly manner, the 
Dido at least must have become the prize of the French com- 

It was well for the Dido that the Lowestoffe's captain pos- 
sessed none of the backwardness of the captain of the Artemise ; 
and, indeed, so ready is Captain Towry to admit the benefit he 
derived from his consort's aid ; so far is he from wishiD^ to 
monopolize the credit of the victory, that in his official letter he 
says, *^By Captain Middleton*s good conduct the business of 
the day was, in a great measure, brought to a fortunate issue." 

The Minerve was conducted in safety to Port Mahon, and 
afterwards to Ajaccio, and was added to the British navy, under 
the command of Captain Towry, as a 38-gun Mgate ; to which 
class, from her fine qualifications, the Minerve became a valuable 
acquisition. The Dido's first-lieutenant, already named, was 
justly promoted to the rank of commander; as was also Mr. 
Joshua Sydney Horton, the first-lieutenant of the Lowestoffe. 

On the 22nd of August, at 1 p.m., as a British squadron under 
the orders of Captain James Alms of the 36^un Mgate Bdunion, 
composed of, besides that frigate, the 50-gun ship Isis, Captain 
Robert Watson, 18-pounder 32-gun Mgate Stag, Captain Joseph 
Sydney York, and 28-gun Mgate Vestal, Captain Charles White, 
was cruising in the North Sea, off the coast of Norway, the two 
Dutch 36-gun Mgates Alliance and Argo, and the 16-gun cutter 
Ylugheld (Nelly, in the Gazette account), were discovered to 
windward, standing towards the shore on the larboard tack. 
Chase was given, and a change of wind enabled the Stag, at 
about 4 h. 15 m p.m., to close with the Alliance, the stemmost 
vessel. The remaining British ships, meanwhile, devoted their 


attention to the Ajgo and YlngheM, in the hope to exit them off 
from the harbour of Egeroe, towards' which they were directing 
their course. After about an hour's action with the Stag, the 
Allianee hauled down her colours ; but under what circum-* 
stances, as to damage or loss, the official account does not inform 
us, and, at this late day, we have no means of ascertaining. 

The Stag, armed and manned like her sister frigate, the 
Lively, had four men killed and 13 wounded. The Alliance, 
whose 36 guns consisted of 26 long 12-pounders, six long 6b, 
and four brass 24-pounder carronades, with a crew of 240 men 
and boys, undoubtedly sustained fa loss, and, in all probability, 
to a much greater amoimt than that of her superior opponent, 
the Stag; but, as above stated, no notice is taken of it in 
Captain Alms's letter : a piece of neglect of which we have 
already pointed out the injustice. One circumstance is clear, 
that the Alliance, from the first, had no chance of success, the 
Beunion alone being quite a match for the Argo, who was 
armed precisely the same as the Alliance ; and then a 50-gun 
ship and a 28-gnn frigate were ready, if necessary, to assist the 

After a running fight, in which the Eeunion lost one man 
killed and three wounded, the Isis, two men woimded, and the 
Argo, two killed and 15 wounded, besides being hulled with 
thirty 24-pound shot, and having her sails and rigging much cut, 
the Argo, with the cutter, got safe into Egeroe. 

Having blamed Captain Alms for an omission, we are bound 
to show where '^he has acted in a manner highly laudable and 
worthy of imitation. ** I have,'* he says in his letter, ** thought 
proper, for their lordships' information, to send in the Alliance 
with my despatches by Lieutenant William tluggell, of his 
majesty's ship under my command, whom I recommend to their 
favour, who will inform their lordships with every proceeding of 
the chase and action ; but, as the Alliance struck to the Stag, 
have put Mr. Patrick Tonyn, her first-lieutenant, to take charge 
of her, with orders to proceed to the Nore." 

In the beginning of the month of September the 12-pounder 
32-gun frigate Southampton, Captain James Macnamara, had 
been left, in company with the 18-gun ship-sloop Moselle, 
Captain Charles Brisbane, to watch the port of Genoa, in which 
lay, waiting for an opportunity to return to Toulon, the French 
36-gun frigate Vestale, 28-gun frigate or ** corvette " Brune, and 
I4rgun J^rig-corvettes Alerte and Scout. On the 28th Captain 
Macnamara detached the Moselle on service to Yado ; and, on 


the 29th, in the afternoon, while standing in towards Genoa, 
the Southampton discovered several sail steering^ to the west- 
ward. The British frigate immediately crowded sail after the 
largest phip, which was no other than the Vestale, who, with 
her little squadron, and several small privateers, had taken ad- 
vantage of the Moselle's temporary absence to effect her own 
and their escape. 

At 10 P.M. the Southampton arrived within hail of tiie 
Vestale, and receiving no satisfactory answer, fired her 8ta^ 
board broadside into the French frigate's larboard quarter. 
The Vestale returned the fire, but, wishing to avoid an actimi, 
at 10 h. 25 m. p.m. tacked, and was promptly followed by the 
Southampton, who soon brought her larboard guns to bear. 
The Vestale now crowded all sail to get away, as did also th( 
Brune, who was at a short distance ahead of her. The South- 
ampton, after having partially repaired her damaged rigging, as 
she stood on in chase, discovered the Alerte and Scout brigs 
close to her, endeavouring to effect their escape by steering 
different courses. At 11 p.m., just as the Southampton was 
getting within point-blank range of the Vestale, the former^ 
mizenmast, from a severe wound it had received and the press 
of sail now carried, fell over the side. Although the wreck was 
oleaj^, a Jury-mast erected, and fresh sails bent and aot, with 
surprising alacrity, the time lost could not be regained ; and the 
Vestale, in chase of whom the Moselle joined about midnight, 
effected her escape, with the loss, as it afterwards appeared, of 
eight men killed and nine woimded. 

Thus ended an affair, in which a different line of conduct on 
the part of the French commander might, on a fair calculation 
of the odds in his favour, have enabled him to capture a British 
frigate. All that can now be said is, that the gallantry of the 
Southampton's captain afforded a remarkable eontraat to the 
pusillanimity (for it would be wrong to call it by any other 
name) of the captain of the Vestale.^ 

On the 28th of September, at 4 h. 30 m. a.m., the British 
hired cutter Eose, Lieutenant William Walker, of eight 
4-pounders and only 13 men and one boy on board, being near 
to the island of Capraria on her passage from Leghorn to Bastia 
in Corsica, discovered three French lateen-rigged privateera to 

^ Mr. Marshall, in his biographical work former lost her mizenmast. and the Va^ 

(▼oL i., p. 686), states that the South- tale " rehoisted her coloiurs,*' and went off 

■mpton ran the Vestale on hoard, and before the wind. Not a word of tide to to 

*'8oon compelled her to surrender," but be found in the Southamptoi^a log; it to 

tliAt, when about to take posBeaslon. the therefore, in aU probability, ioGocMot. 


leeward. At this time almost the only man on deck was the 
steersman, but the alarm soon brought up from their beds the 
remainder of the cutter's small crew ; and, although he had on 
board a king*s messenger, Mr. Mason, and two ladies, as pas- 
sengers, and 10,0002. in specie. Lieutenant Walker formed the 
bold resolve of attacking the three vessels, either of which, iu 
point of men at least, was known, from thid complement they 
usually carried, to be more than treble the force of the Rose. 

The cutter was quickly cleared for action, and bore down 
with a moderate breeze and smooth sea directly for the largest 
of the privateers, which was at some distaiice to leeward of the 
other two. It was the intention of Lieutenant Walker to give 
this privateer the cutter's steuL, and for that purpose he himself 
attended to the steering ; but, the Bose getting near, the lieu* 
tenant ru^ed forward to be among the foremost of the boarders, 
when the man whom he had left at the helm either misunder- 
stood or neglected his orders, and x>ermitted the privateer to 
shoot too far ahead. 

The consequence was, that instead of striking the privateer 
amidships, the cutter with her bowsprit merely carried away the 
formers mizenmast and the projecting part of her stem. While 
passing to leeward, however, the Rose poured in a destructive 
raking tire with three round shot in every gun. She then luffed 
up, with the intention of placing herself on the bows of her 
antagonist, but became becalmed by the latter's sails. At length 
the Rose moved ahead, and, in tacking, carried away with her 
main boom the privateer's foreyard. On c<»ning round upon the 
other tack, the Rose discharged a secoM broadside into her' 
antagonist, and set fire to her foresail and mizen. The privateer 
instantly called for quarter and struck. 

After threatening the French captain to sink his vessel if he 
attempted to make sail. Lieutenant Walker, who could have ill 
spared any hands to take possession, stood after the nearest of 
the two other privateers, and, by a well-directed broadside be- 
tween wind and water, sent the second privateer to the bottom ; 
nor, circumstanced as he was, and knowing the unprincipled 
character of these sea banditti, could that ofiScer be blamed for 
not staying to pick up the drowning crew. The Rose left them 
to their fate, and, finding the third privateer making off to wind-' 
ward, stood towards, and with great difSculty secured the one 
that had struck to her. 

This privateer mounted one brass long 6-pounder and four 
1-pound swivels on her bow, and 12 brass Dlunderbusses, or 


mnfiketooiiB, on her sides, and had on board when tdken; exclv- 
sive of 13 reported as killed, 29 men. The privateer that was 
sunk was stated to have had on board 56 men, and the one thit 
escaped, 48 ; making a total of 146 opposed to 14. Of this her 
small orew the Bose was so fortnnate as to have onlj one mut 
hnrt, and that was by having his foot accidently crushed by 
one of the gnn-carriages. This intrepid fellow, William Brown 
by name, although so painfully wounded, could not be persuaded 
to go below, saying to his commander, " Indeed, sir, yon cajmot 
spare a man ; I can sit here and use a musket as well as any of 
them."^ Notwithstanding her crew had escaped so snrprisingiy,- 
the |tose had her hull struck with shot in every direction, h«r 
mast and main boom badly wounded, and her sails riddled like 
a sieve. 

Battening down the privateer's men in their vessel and then 
taking her in tow, the Eose steered with her prize for Bastia, 
where, in a day or two, they both arrived. Lieutenant Walker 
soon afterwards, for his very gallant behaviour, received a most 
flattering letter from the Viceroy of Corsica, Sir Gilbert Elliot, 
as well as from Admiral Hotham, the British commander-m-ohief 
on the station. But, owing to some unexplained cause, the 
official letter addressed to Admiral Hotham never found its waj 
into the Gazette : hence the affair, although long a topic of ad- 
miration among the officers of the British navy serving in the 
Mediterranean, produced no beneficial result to the party who 
had so nobly sustained the honour of the British fla^. 

On the 10th of October, at 9 h. 30 m. a.m., the British 12- 
pounder 32-gun frigate Mermaid, Captain Henry Warre, cruising 
off the island of Grenada, discovered a ship and brig at anch<Nr 
off La-Baye, and made all sail towards them. At 10 h. 30 m. 
A.M. the two vessels, which were the French ship-corvette E^ 
publicaine, of 18 guns, and the brig-corvette Brutus, of 10 guns, 
got imder way and made sail to the southward, with the wind 

Finding that the Mermaid was gaining fast upon her the 
Brutus bore up and steered for the land, anchoring, at 10 h. 60m., 
in the bay of Eequain. The frigate bore up also, and at noon 
anchored close to the brig ; who soon began landing her crew 
consisting of 50 sailors and 70 soldiers. After firing several 
broadsides at the Brutus and at the people landing from her 
Captain Warre sent his boats, manned and armed, and took 

1 The men, ia these cases, being hired with the vessel, reoefve no allowanoe fbr 


possession of the brig. It now appeared that two men, left on 
board for that purpose, had just set the brig on fire in the fore- 
hold, and the British were obliged to scuttle the decks to ex- 
tinguish the flames. This done, the Mermaid and her prize, at 
3 P.M., weighed and made sail out of the bay. 

On the 13th, in the evening, having seen the Brutus safe into 
St. George's, the Mermaid came to an anchor off one of the 
small islands close to the northward of Grenada ; and on the 
14th, at daybreak^ weighed in chase of a ship in the west by 
north, or leeward quarter. At 10 h. 45 m. a.m. the K^pub- 
licaine, as the ship proved to be, put before the wind under all 
sail ; and at 3 h. 50 m. p.m., after a running fight since noon,, 
and a close action of ten minutes, struck her colours, with a loss, 
out of a crew, including a French general (intended to command 
at Grenada) and his suite and several other passengers, amount- 
ing to 250 men, of nearly 20 killed and several wounded. On 
board the Mermaid one seaman only was killed, and three 

On the 14th of October, at 1 p.m., while the British frigates 
Melampus, Captain Sir Eichard John Strachan, and Latona, 
Captain the Honourable Arthur Kaye Legge, were running 
before a fresh south-south-east wind, between the inland of 
Groix and the main land of France, the batteries on each side of 
the channel opened upon them a heavy but ineffectual fire ; and 
which the frigates, as they passed rapidly on, returned with one 
or two broadsides each. At 6 p.m. the south point of the island 
of Groix bore from them east, distant seven leagues. 

On the 15th, at 6 h. 15 m. a.m., as these two frigates were 
standing close-hauled on the starboard tack, with the wind at 
west by north, two ships were descried in the south-west, and a 
brig in the north-west. The latter was the French 16-gun brig- 
corvette Eveille, and the two former the French 40-gun frigate 
Tortue and 36-gun frigate N^rdide, making the best of their 
way to Rochefort, after a 60 days' tolerably successful cruise in 
company with the new 44-gun frigate Forte, who appears to have 
got safe in during the preceding night. 

The Latona, as soon as she had signalled the two strange 
frigates to her consort, edged away towards them, and was 
quickly followed, under all sail, by the Melampus. At 11 a.m. 
the 74-gun ship Orion, Captain Sir James Saumarez, and 36- 
gun frigate Thalia, Captain Lord Henry Paulet, made their ap^ 
pearance in the north-east, and joined in the chase. At three- 
quarters past noon the Latona, who was at some distance ahead 


of her consort, began firing her bow-chasers at the rearmost 
French frigate ; and the latter, shortly afterwards, retnmed the 
fire from her stem-chasers. At 3 p.m. the Orion, having badly 
sprung her main topmast, wore and discontinned the chase, 
hauling up for two sail in the north-north-west ; which proved 
to be the 40-gun frigate Pomone, Commodore Sir John Bor- 
lase Warren, and 36-gun frigate Concorde, Captain Anthony 

In the mean time the Latona and Melampns, followed by the 
Thalia, continned the chase nnder all sail, with a fresh breeie 
from soQth-west by west. At 4 p.m. the Latona bad gained con- 
siderably upon the stemmost French frigate ; when, the Barges 
d*01oHne bearing east half-north distant only two miles, and the 
wind blowing dead upon the shore with a heavy sea, the pilot 
refused to take further charge of the ship. The Latona there- 
upon shortened sail, and hauled her wind to the north-west; as 
did, about the same time, the Melampus, and other chasii^ 
ships. The two French frigates, thus unavoidably left to them- 
selves, ran through the Pertuis-Breton, and were soon at anchor 
in the waters at Bochefort. 

The hrig-corvette was not so fortunate. At 2 p.m., Teie 
dTeu bearing south-east by south distant three leagues, the 
British 74-gun phip Thunderer, Captain Albermarle Bertie, die- 
covered the Eveille standing to the south-east, and made all stfl 
in chase. At 4 h. 30 m. p.m. Sir John Warren, with his ships, 
appeared to leeward. Both the Thunderer and Pomone soon 
opened their fire upon the Eveille ; and at 6 p.m., having pre- 
viously thrown all her guns overboard, the brig struck her 
colours, and was taken poBsession of by an officer from the 
Pomone. The latter, shortly afterwards, accompanied by ths 
Thunderer, Concorde, and prize, anchored in the road of 
Isle dTeu. 

As the commanding officer on this occasion. Sir John Borlase 
Warren possessed the right to do, what he was always fond of 
doing, pen the official letter to the Admiralty. Whether any 
one of the captains under him would not have given a more 
correct account of the occurrences he reports, will appear by s 
slight analysis of his letter, as it stands in the London Gaa^ttei 
Sir John says : " The Aquilon, who was the headmost^ beiBg 
within gun-shot of the enemy, they doubled the Baleine bask, 
and proceeded up the Peituis d' Antioche to Rochefort." Nov, 
the Aquilon, if she was in chase at all, got scarcely any nearer 
than the Pomone herself. Admitting a mistake in the namAi 


and that Sir John meant the Latona, did he also mistake ihe 
Pertuis-Breton for the Pertuis-d'Antioche ? So far from the 
Latona having '* doubled the Baleine bank," she found herself, 
on shortening sail, much within it, and had to beat out at a con- 
siderable risk. 

But, let us see what Sir John says about the capture of the 
Eveill^ : — " I hauled to the wind directly, and disco'vered two 
other sail in the north-west, steering in for the land ; the whole 
squadron chased, and on our nearer approach found them to be 
a line-of-battle phip and a corvette-brig ; I endeavoured to ciifc 
them off from the land, and, after several shots had been fired, 
the corvette brought to, and proved to be, &c." What is the 
inference here, but that Sir John, in a frigate, endeavoured to cut 
off from the land a French line-of-battle ship and corvette- 
brig? Will it be credited, that neither the Thunderer nor the 
captain of her is named in Sir John Warren's letter ? It was 
the accidental discovery of the following words in the Orion's 
log, ** An English line-of-battle ship in chase of a corvette, 
. brig,'* that induced us to investigate the subject. In the chase 
of the two frigates. Sir John might have alleged as an excuse, 
the distance of the Pomone from them ; but how happened he 
to forget the Thunderer, when that ship actually accompanied 
the Pomone and their joint prize to the anchorage at Isle d' Yeu ? 

Colonial Expeditions, — West Indies, 

As soon as news reached France of the success of the re* 
publicans at Guadeloupe, every exertion was used to send out 
supplies to Victor Hugues. On the 17th of November, 1794, 
the 50-gun frigate, or ras^, Hercule, 36-gun frigate Astr^e, two 
corvettes, an armed ship or two, and eight or ten sail of trans- 
ports, having on board about HOOO troops, with warlike stores of 
every description, sailed from Brest bound to the Antilles. 

On the 5th of January, 1795, at 8 a.m., latitude 16^ 30' north, 
B^sirade bearing west, distant 12 leagues, the British 74Tgun 
ship Bellona, Captain George Wilson, cruising in (Company with 
the 32-gun frigate Alarm, Captain Charles Carpenter, descried 
two ships of that very French convoy standing towards her ; but 
which, on discovering their mistake, tacked and stood away. 
The British ships went immediately in chase, with light winds 
and very hazy weather. At noon 10 sail, lying to, were dis- 
covered to leeward. 

Supposing these ships and the two first Seen to be a squadron 


of French men of war, the BritiBh 74 and frigate dlBcanthimd 
the chase nntil 1 p.m. ; when the strangers gave a decided 
proof of their nnwarlike character by bearing np. Obsenring 
this, the Bellona and Alarm again stood after them, the weather 
very squally and still hazy. At 5 p.m. the Bellona made the 
Alarm's signal to attack the conToy, while she prepared to en- 
gage the five ships, or, as Captain Wilson calls them, ^ frigafefl^'* 
which had formed in the rear of the convoy. 

The Bellona, who was one of the fastest and handiest 74b in 
the British navy, soon overtook, and, after the discharge of t 
few shot, compelled the stemmost of these to strike. On taking 
possession, at 8 a.m., of the '^frigate," as Captain WOson in his 
jonmal still calls her, she was found to be ''the Doras, of 20 
guns, 400 troops, and 70 seamen.'* The crew reported thdr 
ship in a sinking state; ''during which time," says CaptaiB 
Wilson, " I lay to, expecting the other fiigates to fetch me on 
the same tack, when Captain Carpenter hailed me to observe 
the same." At 8 h. 30 m. p.m., continues Captain Wilsan, *' I sav 
the frigates had bore up" On this, after directing the Alarm 
to take charge of the prize and follow with all expedition, the 
Bellona, a third time, made sail in chase ; but, favoured as well 
by a dark and squally night as by the awkwardness, to nse no 
harsher term, of the British 74 and frigate, the whole of the 
French ships, except the one which appears to have been thrown 
out as a bait or decoy, e£fected their escape. 

While the Bellona was making the best of her way to Mai^ 
tinique, the Hercule and her charge steered for the island of their 
destination, Guadeloupe, and on the following day, the Stii, 
reached Pointe-k-Pitre in safety, and, after such an escape, it 
may be added, in triumph. A second piece of good fortune, in- 
deed, appears to have attended the French commodore ; for, on 
the preceding morning, the British 64:-gun ship Veteran, Captaia 
William Hancock KeUy, when within only a few hours' sail of 
her appointed station in Gosier bay, had put back to the south- 
ward, to attend the crippled Blanche and Pique to the Saintes. 

The arrival of this important reinforcement inspired Victor 
Hugues with designs against the other ceded islands. Having 
not only troops, but transports to convey, and ships of war to 
protect them, this demon of republicanism, whose barbarity, u 
fully accredited on several occasions, was of the most revolting 
description, readily contrived to land soldiers at Sainte Lude, 
St. Vincent, Grenada, and Dominique. Artful emissaries accom- 
pMiied the troops, and soon succeeded in raising a ferment in the 


ifilands which they yislted. The negroes, oharibs, and many of 
the old French inhabitants, revolted; and dreadful were the 
atrocities perpetrated npon the well-affected. Neither age nor 
sex was spared ; and plantations, in every direction, were seen 
monldering beneath the firebrands of the insurgents. 

The British troops, thinly distributed from the first, and 
since reduced by fatigue and sickness, could offer, in general, 
but a feeble resistance to the numbers of different enemies 
opposed to them. The garrison of Sainte Lucie, numbering 
2000 men, evacuated that island on the 19th of June, and were 
embarked on board the armed store-ship Experiment, Lieu- 
tenant John JBarrett, and a transport in company : they had 
suffered greatly, both by the climate and the enemy. By the 
27th of the month, the rebellion in Dominique had been com- 
pletely quelled by the few British troops stationed there, assisted 
by the bulk of the inhabitants. The island of St. Vincent and 
a part of Grenada were, at the close of the year, still in a re- 
volted state. 

In landing troops at the commencement, co-operating with 
them in the prosecution, or withdrawing them at the abandon- 
ment, of an attack, the officers and seamen of the British navy 
evinced their customary zeal and activity, and freely obtcdned, 
from those with whom they acted on shore, their commendations 
and thanks. Our researches have enabled us to name the fol- 
lowing as among the officers, who, on the occasions alluded to, 
particularly distinguished themselves : — Captain Charles Sawyer 
of the Blanche, Captain Frederick Watkins of the Eesource, 
Captain Josias Rogers of the Quebec (pre-eminently so, at 
Grenada especially), and Lieutenant John Barrett of the Expe- 

Early in the month of August, a British squadron, under the 
orders of Yice-admiral Sir George Keith Elphinstone, and com- 
posed of the 



HT k i Vice-admiral (b.) Sir George Keith Elphinstone, K.B., 

Monarcn . | Captain John Elphinstone, 

„ William CUrk, 

„ Richard Lucas, 

„ Jehu Blankett, 

„ Billy Douglas, 

"" Victorious 
Ntatcly . 


,^ I Echo. 

PA i Al 

^^ ist 


Temple Hardy, " 
John William Spraiiger, 

( Rattlesnake 

having on board a detachment of the 78th regiment, commanded 


by Major-general Craig, anchored in Simon's bay, Gape of Good 

Proposals were immediately made to the Dutch govemor, Ge- 
neral Sluysken, to the effect that he should place the settlement 
under the protection of his Britannic majesty. This the goyemor 
refused, and, preparatory to his intention to set lire to Simon's 
town, sent away the inhahitants. On the 14th, before this oonU 
bo accomplished, 450 men of the 78th, and 350 marines from the 
squadron, were landed and took possession of the town. The 
Dutch militia and Hottentots, meanwhile, had taken post on the 
adjacent heights, and occupied the pass of Muyzenburg, distant 
six miles from Cape Town, well furnished with cannon, having a 
steep mountain on its right, and the sea on its left, bat difficult 
of approach on account of shaUow water and a high surf on. the 
shore. From this strong position, the enemy fired fjccasionally 
on the British patroles ; who, agreeably to their inBtruotions, 
had forborne to commence the slightest act of hostility. The 
British now determined on offensive operations; and acoord- 
ingly, a detachment of 1000 seamen, formed into two battalions, 
under the command of Captains Hardy of the Echo and 
Sprangor of tlie Eattlesnake, were disembarked, making, with 
the soldiers and marines already on shore, a force of about 1800 
men. To facilitate the attack, the vice-admiral equipped a gun- 
boat, and armed the launches of the ships with 24 i^d 18 
pounder carronades. 

On the 7th of August, at noon, everything being leady, and 
the wind favourable, the America 64 got under way, and, with 
the Stately of the same force, and the two sloops, the Echo, 
commanded, in the absence of her captain, by Lieutenant Andrew 
Todd of the Monarch, leading, stood in-shore, as close as the 
shallowness of the water would admit. The ships then, aided 
by the gun-boats and launches, which latter were of coune 
enabled to get much closer, covered the line of march of the 
troops. At 1 P.M. the ships having arrived abreast of an ad- 
vanced post, on which two 24-pounders were mounted, drofe 
the enemy from it by the discharge of a few shots. A second 
position, defended by one gim and one howitzer, was similariy 
abandoned. Soon afterwards the ships arrived opposite the 
enemy's camp : and being judiciously posted by Gonunodore 
Blankett, opened so brisk and well-directed a fire, as to compel 
the Dutch to fly, long ere Major-general Craig and the troopi 
could co-operate. The fire from the enemy's three field-pieoet. 
killed two and wounded four men, besides disabling a gnn oa 



board of the America, and wounded one man in the Stately. 
Some shots, also, passed through both ships, but did not mate- 
rially injure either of them. At 4 p.m. Major-general Craig, 
after a fatiguing march over heavy, sandy ground,, arrived at and 
took possession of the abandoned Dutch camp. 

The Dutch, who after retiring had taken post on an advan- 
tageous ridge of rocky heights at a short distance off, were the 
same evening driven from that position also, by the advanced 
guard of the 78th, supported by the battalion, with the loss of 
only one British officer. Captain Scott of the 78th, wounded. 
On the day following, the 8th, having augumented their force 
from Cape Town, the Dutch advanced with eight field-pieces, 
to regain the position they had lost ; but, after some slight skir- 
mishing, in which great steadiness was displayed by the first 
battalion of seamen under Captain Hardy, the ibrmer were com- 
pelled to retire. The last-named officer had crossed the water 
with his battalion of seamen, as had also Major Hill, with the 
marines, and both seamen and marines received the enemy's fire 
¥dthout returning a shot. * * They ' * (the seamen) " manoeuvred, ' ' 
says Major-general Craig, " with a regularity which would not 
have discredited veteran troops." The general also compliments 
the marines for their steady resolution on the same occasion. 
On the 18th five Dutch Indiamen, lying in Simon's bay, were 
detained by the rear-admiraFs orders. Among them was the 
Willemstadt en Boetzlaar; which was afterwards named the 
Princess, and fitted out by the British at the Cape as a 20-gun 

Some partial successes, gained on the 1st and 2nd of Septem- 
ber, encouraged the Dutch, on the 3rd, to meditate a general 
attack on the British camp. The former advanced in the night 
with all the force they could muster, and with a train of not less 
than 18 field-pieces. But, just at this critical moment, the long- 
expected English fleet, with reinforcements, appeared in the 
offing. On the following morning 14 sail of East India ships, 
having on board a considerable quantity of troops, under the 
command of General Alured Clarke, with guns, ammunition, 
and stores of every sort, including an ample supply of provi- 
sions, came to anchor in Simon's bay. 

With this accession of strength, the admiral and general 
determined on an immediato attack upon Cape Town. The 
disembarkation of the troops, artillery, and stores, occupied 
until the morning of the 14th ; when the army began its march, 
each man carrying with him four days' provisions. The seamen 


with their usnal alacrity and cheerfalness, dragged the caimoD 
through a deep sand, although annoyed accarionally by a galling 
fire. In the mean time the America, the two sloopB, and tbe 
Bombay Castle Indiaman, Captain Acland, i^hoae men had 
volunteered and greatly assisted in the removal of the cansoi, 
proceeded round to Table Bay, to make a diyersion on that side. 
This so alarmed the Dutch governor, whose troojM had bees 
retiring before those of General Clarke, that tbe former, on the 
same night, sent in a flag of truce, asking a cessation of arms lor 
4S hours, in order to settle the terms of capitulation. Genoal 
Clarke refused to grant more than 24 hours ; and, at the tenni- 
nation of that period, the town and colony fell into the possesdoB 
of Great Britain. The regular troops that sun'endered amounted 
to about 1000. The ship Castor, and armed-brig 8tar, both 
belonging to the Dutch East India Company, were here seised. 
The latter was taken into the British service, and named the 

In our account of the proceedings of Lord Howe's fleet in the 
year 1794, we mentioned that the Suffolk 74, Captain Peter 
Bainier, and a few other vessels of war, parted company from 
his lordship off the Lizard on the 4th of May, bound wSh 
convoy to the East Indies. By the able management of Com- 
modore Eainier, that convoy, and a very numerous one it was, 
arrived in the succeeding November at Madras, without t 
missing ship, and what is still more extraordinary, without 
having touched anywhere on the voyage. The commodore .t 
remained on the East India station as the British commander- i 
in-chief, and in June, 1795, obtained his flag. j 

On the 21st of July, in pursuance of orders from the govern- 
ment of Fort George, Rear-admiral Eainier, with the Suffolk, ; 
Captain Robert Lambert, and 50-gun ship Centurion, Captain 
Samuel Osbom, sailed from Madras road, having in charge some 
transports containing a detachment of troops, under the com- 
mand of Colonel James Stuart, destined to act against the Dutch 
possessions in the island of Ceylon, particularly against the in- 
portant posts of Trincomale and Oostenburg. 

At the same time the 44-gun ship Resistance, Captain Edward 
Pakenham, accompanied by the tender of the Suffolk, and i 
transport having on board a small party of troops, was detached 
to assist in an expedition that had previously sailed, escorted by 
the 32-gun frigate Orpheus, Captain Henry Newcome, for the 
reduction of Malacca. On the 23rd the Suffolk and convoy, tiien 
o£f Negapatnam, were joined by the 44-gun ship Diomede, Gtp- 


tain Matthew Smith (who had not yet -been tried by the court- 
martial noticed at p. 238), and a transport or two, with some 
additional troops. 

Thus strengthened, the expedition again set sail on the 25th, 
and on the 1st of August cast anchor in Back bay, in company 
with the 32-gun frigate Heroine, Captain Alan Hyde Gardner, 
who had joined the day previous. On board the Heroine was 
Major Agnew, deputy-adjutant-general, who had been sent to 
Fort Oolumbo, by Lord Hobart at Madras, ostensibly to explain 
to the Governor-general of Ceylon, M. Van,Angelbeck, the ob- 
ject of the expedition, but really to obtain from him an order to 
the commandant at Trincomale, to admit 300 British troops to 
garrison Fort Oostenburg, situated within the harbour. This 
order Major Agnew had brought with him, but to which the 
commandant of Trincomale refused obedience. 

Nearly two days were occupied in. useless remonstrances, 
when it was resolved to land the troops. Unfortunately, on that 
afternoon, the Diomede, in working ipto the bay against a strong 
land wind, with a transport in tow, struck on a sunken rock, not 
laid down in the charts ; and, scarcely allowing time for the 
people to save themselves, went down with all her stores on 
board. The delay occasioned by this] accident made it the fol- 
lowing morning, the 3rd, before the troops could be landed. The 
disembarkation then took place, at a spot about four miles to the 
northward of the fort of Trincomale, without the slightest oppo- 
sition. Owin^, in part, to an extraordinary high surf and the 
violence of the wind, it took as many as ten days to land the 
whole of the stores and provisions. The carriage of these and of 
the artillery to the camp, a distance of about three miles, over a 
heavy sand, was cheerfully executed by the seamen. 

On the 18th the troops broke ground, and still remained un- 
molested by the Dutch. On the 23rd the English batteries, con- 
sisting of 8 18-pounders (three of them from the Suffolk), 
besides some gmis of smaller caliber, opened their fire on the fort 
of Trincomale, and, by the 26th effected a practicable breach. 
A summons to the commandant was then sent in ; and, while that 
was being discussed within, every preparation for the assault was 
making without. The garrison demanded such terms as could 
not be granted. Others were forwarded. The non-acceptance 
of these occasioned a recommencement of the firing ; but, before 
it had continued many minutes, a white flag was suspended from 
the walls, and the Dutch commandant agreed to the terms which 
had been offered. The garrison consisted of 679 officers and 

VOL. I. z 


men, and the serviceable ordnance, of nearly 100 pieces, in- 
cluding a larpre proportion of 18 and 24-poTinders, The loss 
sustained by the British in gaining this post amounted, in king's 
and in company's troops, to 15 killed and. 54 -wounded, and in 
seamen to one killed and six wounded. 

On the 27th the fort of Oostenburg was summoned, and on 
the 31st surrendered upon the same terms as had been granted 
to Trincomalc. On the 18th of September the fort of Batticaloe 
surrendered to a detachment of troops under the conmiand of 
Major Fraser, of the 22nd regiment. 

On the 24th General Stuart embarked from Trincomale, with 
a considerable detachment of troops and artillery, on board of 
the Centurion, Captain Samuel Osbom, company's frigate Bom- 
bay, Bombay store-ship, and Swallow and John packets, and on 
the 27th disembarked the whole at Point Pedro, island of Cey- 
lon, about 24 miles from Jafihapatam ; of which important post, 
on the 28th, the general took quiet possession. 

On the 1st of October the British 18-gnn ship-sloop Hobart, 
Captain Benjamin William Page (late one of Bear-admiral 
Hanier's lieutenants and an officer of considerable experience in 
East Indian navigation), having on board a detachment of the 
52nd regiment, under the command of Captain the HonouraUe 
Charles Monson, took quiet possession of Molletive, another 
Dutch factory and military post on the island of Ceylon. On 
the 5th the fort and smaU island of Manar, situated a short dis- 
tance to the north-west of Ceylon, surrendered tq Captain Bsff- 
butt, whom General Stuart, immediately after taking possessioD 
of Jafihapatam, had detached on that service. 

The settlement of Malacca had also, since the 17th of August, 
surrendered by capitulation to the force under the orders of 
Major Brown, and of Captain Newcome of the Orpheus frigate, 
Chinsura and its dependencies likewise surrendered ; as, before 
the close of the year, did Cochin and all the remaining Dotck 
settlements on the continent of India. 

( 339 ) 


The abstract of the British navy for the commencement of 
this year^ differs so slightly, in its more important totals, from 
that of the preceding year, as to require few if any additional 
observations. The first commission-column shows an increase 
of 14 ships of the line, and of 50 ships altogether ; a sufficient 
proof that the dockyards had not slackened in their exertions. 
The number of ships and vessels added to the British, from the 
French navy, since the date of the last abstract, amounts to 28, 
exclusive of five from the Dutch navy,^ and two captured 
Dutch East India Company's vessels, which we have considered 
as privateers. The 15 purchased vessels in the abstract, or the 
greater part of them, had been in the English merchant service. 
The loss sustained by the British navy, during the year 1795, 
amounted to 12 ships,^ including four of the line ; two of which, 
under cfrcumstances that have been related, were captured by 
the French. 

Of the 11 ships which, at the date of the last, or third year's 
abstract, remained on hand out of the 20 that were building at 
the date of the first, one ship only, the Ville-de-Paris, had been 
launched. Although the largest vessel hitherto built in an 
English dockyard, this 110-gun ship was rather exceeded, in 
length, by each of the French 80-gun ships captured by Lord 
Howe. For instance : — 

ft. in. 

Ville-de-Paris . . . length of lower deck, 190 2 

Sans-Pai-eil .... „ 193 

Juste „ 193 4 

1 See Appendix, Annual Atetract, No. 3. ' > Ibid. No. 20 * 
» See Appendix, Not. IS nd 19. 


Not, however, to be outdone by the French in the size of the 
74-gim ehip, the Admiralty had ordered ten to be laid down, nine 
of which, with the two 24-ponnder 74s already on the stocks, 
averaged I9I4 tons 

The old 50-gnn ship, it will be seen, has been displaced from 
the head of the nnder-line division, to make room for two new 
classes, composed of ships purchased from the East India Ck>m- 
pany. These ships are described in a note subjoined to the 
abstract :* it may therefore suffice to say of them, that thej 
proved, on trial, to be far fitter for their old than their^new occu- 
pation. The 14 newly-built 18-gnn Mg sloops at T and Z^ 
with another, the Despatch, referred to in a note in that ab- 
stract,- were the first British men of war constmcted of fir 
since the year 1757.' 

Carronades were rapidly spreading through the navy. Scarcely 
a ship was now without them. A tier of 32>ponnderB wu 
mounted upon the second-deck of the nine purchased ships af 
R and S ; and there were individuals in several dasses whom 
armament was principally, if not wholly, composed of ftton. 
The 32-pounder had been assigned as the main battery of a 
whole class,^ which otherwise would have had only 6-pounder 
long guns. A new use had been found for the smaller oaJib^v: 
every ship in the navy, down to the 18-gun brig inclnsive, wis 
ordered to be supplied with a carronade for her laundli f to 
assist in carrying into execution the desperate service of cutting 
out vessels, an employment in which British seamen have so 
often distinguished themselves. 

The number of